Gov. Rick Scott today signed the only abortion-related bill that passed this session, requiring that doctors must offer emergency medical care if a baby is born alive during a failed abortion or face criminal charges.
Scott was joined by his wife Ann and pro-life supporters from around the state as he signed HB 1129 Wednesday afternoon at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home’s Pensacola campus in Cantonment, a nonprofit organization that supports pregnancy resource centers and children who are neglected, abused or abandoned.
Scott applauded the commitment of sponsors Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami. Pigman, a freshman legislator and emergency room physician, took part in the event via Skype -- he’s a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who is currently serving in Kuwait.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, calls for care “appropriate for the gestational age of the infant.” It
states that an infant born alive “during or immediately after attempted
abortion is entitled to the same rights, powers, and privileges as any
other child born alive in course of natural birth” and ensures an infant
is “transported to a hospital.”
A violation of the law is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. Health care practitioners, as well as employees of hospitals, physicians’ offices and abortion clinics, must report all known violations to the Department of Health.
Florida is the 29th state to enact similar legislation, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research and advocacy group that supports women’s access to abortions and collects abortion data. More than 450 bills restricting access to abortion and family planning were introduced in 46 states so far this year, said Elizabeth Nash, the institute’s state issues manager.