TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida legislator filed a bill this week to roll back certain abortion laws.
Orlando Rep. Anna V. Eskamani told 10News that while there is no doubt that some regulation is needed in regards to abortion access, those regulations should be based on medicine and science and not political motivations.
That's why she says she filed HB 6074.
The bill seeks to overturn three items of anti-abortion legislation that Eskamani says has already been struck down in the courts, yet have not been removed from the books.
House Bill 6074 calls for removing the required 24-hour delay from the time a woman sees an abortion provider to when she gets an abortion; getting rid of legislation that prohibits state and local agencies from finding, initiating and renewing contracts to abortion-providing clinics; and removing the requirement that the Agency for Health Care Administration review patient records as part of their licensing inspections.
While Eskamani says AHCA inspections are a good and necessary part of medical facility licensing, she also says that when it comes to abortion clinics, the treatment is different.
"No other medical provider goes through the same kinds of hoops that abortion providers go through in the state of Florida," said Eskamani.
The Democratic representative is a former Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
As for the 24-hour delay requirement, Eskamani says that it puts unnecessary hardships on women seeking an abortion. She says things like travel costs, missing work, and finding transportation are some of the burdens women go through due to this requirement. She added that there is no evidence saying that a 24-hour delay reduces the rates of abortion.
Rep. Eskamani admits that "the temperature is cold on our bill," among her colleagues, but says, "It's our values that drive us to do what we do every day."
She says regardless of legislative support in the U.S. House and Senate, she knows more bills will continue to be filed to limit women's access to abortion in Florida.
"More and more attacks are coming our way and it's important that we don't just surrender," Eskamani said. "Winning is not measured by passing a bill. It's measured by how hard we fight."
She says it's important to her to show women and girls around the state that they have lawmakers that really care and that they can talk about abortion.
There are currently three bills filed that mean to reduce access to abortion in Florida.
SB 734 proposes to ban abortion if a fetus is diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.
SB 271 would ban abortion at the detection of a heartbeat, with no medical exceptions, along with banning several other aspects of abortion and imposing certain criminal charges.
SB 404 seeks to make it a law that a minor has to have parental consent in order to get an abortion. The current law only requires parental notification.
Rep. Eskamani says SB 404 is the one to watch, as it could have implications that would redefine privacy laws in Florida, which she says are among the most stringent in the nation. Those laws, she said, help to protect women and girls from some of the "hostile" legislation that has passed in other states recently.
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