Sponsor of Florida’s 6-week ban on seeking “a society where abortion is unthinkable”

TALLAHASSEE, Florida. The sponsor of Florida’s six-week abortion ban said her ultimate goal is a society where the practice is “unthinkable.”

State Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulica, R-Fort Myers, made the comment ahead of the HB7 committee’s first stop on Thursday. It is expected that this is where supporters and supporters of abortion will clash in many hours of discussion.

“We can help change the national debate, the national discussion,” Persons-Mulika said. “Ultimately, our goal is to create a society where abortion is unthinkable, where every mother has support and the possibility of adoption, and where people will be there to support her during this process.”

During a one-on-one chat on Wednesday, Persons-Mulica told us she believes in “life at conception” and believes her controversial House measure is a step forward. If the governor signs and the state courts uphold the policy, its provisions would bar Florida doctors from performing abortions after six weeks. Exceptions are made in the bill for rape, incest and fatal fetal conditions.

It’s a drastic reduction from the current law, a ban after 15 weeks except in fatal cases. Legislators approved the ban last year. Persona-Muliska helped run the event at the House but wanted to go further.

“We can see a heartbeat in six weeks,” she said. “Heartbeat is an irrefutable evidence of life. This legislation will be passed by consensus by both houses and is a significant step forward.”

There is controversy in the medical community about what actually happens after six weeks. Experts in various reports prefer “cardiac activity” to “heartbeat”. Many say that the heart is not yet fully formed and its pulse is sporadic.

“At the sixth week of pregnancy, these valves do not exist,” says Dr. Nisha Verma, an obstetrician and gynecologist who specializes in abortion and works at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She told NPR last year that “the flickering we see on ultrasounds early in pregnancy is actually electrical activity, and the sound you ‘hear’ is actually generated by the ultrasound machine.”

Meanwhile, abortion advocates in Florida warn that after six weeks, many will find out they are pregnant. They fear that thousands, especially low-income and minority women, will lose access to the procedure and turn to unsafe alternatives.

“It’s basically an outright ban,” House Minority Leader Fentris Driskell, Tampa, said in a statement.

Driskell and other Democrats vowed war against the policy shortly after it was introduced on the first day of the 2023 legislative session. Members of the minority party admit they don’t have enough votes to block the bills, but said they would take Republicans and the issue to the court of public opinion.

“It’s not good for them,” Senate Minority Leader Senator Lauren Book, D-Plantation, said. “It won’t look good. We’ll call it what we see. It’s shit.”

The party’s motivation was the result of the issue being resolved in the 2022 midterm elections. Voters in two red states—Kansas and Kentucky—rejected measures to weaken abortion protection, and some nationwide polls suggest restricting access is not popular.

However, after last year’s elections, Persons-Muliska is feeling bolder. She sees the mandate of the Floridians.

“Voters in the state of Florida sent a majority in both houses to the legislature — that’s a pro-life majority,” Persons-Malika said. “Voters declared themselves…”

The leadership of the Republican Party in both the House of Representatives and the Senate expressed support for the bill. The governor said he welcomed the “protection of life law.” It looks like the controlling party has what it takes to get a finish line ban this year, but anything can happen in the committee or on the floors of the chamber.

“There is no greater purpose that drives me than to give every child the opportunity to be born and the opportunity to live and find their purpose in life,” said Persons-Mulica. “We wouldn’t have this nationwide debate if none of us were born.”

The House Health Regulation Subcommittee hears HB7 at 8 a.m. Thursday. A three-hour discussion is planned. The accompanying Senate measure has two committee stops. The first is “Health Policy” on Monday at 15:30.

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