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Abortion bill advances in Florida Senate -- but with a new 'compromise'

A Senate proposal that would require women to wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion (SB 724) looks a little different after an emotional hearing Monday. 

The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee approved an amendment that would waive the controversial requirement for women who can prove they are victims of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking.

The discussion began when Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, proposed an amendment to waive the waiting period for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest. Her original language did not require proof.

"Women are in very bad shape when they are raped and they are very emotional," she said. "Lots of things can happen that are medical things. I really feel that they need to be taken care of in the hospital immediately."

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, did not support Margolis's amendment. But she proposed a compromise: an exception for women who could prove they had been victims by providing a restraining order, police report, medical record or some other documentation.

The committee approved both the change and the amended bill.

After the party-lines vote, Flores and Margolis hugged.

"The art of compromise is something that's important here," Flores said. "I made very clear that [the amendment] is not something that I would support on its own, but I understand this is a very important and sensitive issue and I wanted to include it for the members."

Flores said she expects Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, to add a similar provision when the House version bill (HB 633) hits the floor Tuesday.

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