In Tallahassee last week, in the House, Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola, filed HB 271, a bill intending to have Florida join a list of states that have recently passed abortion legislation making the proceedure off limits. Read the full text of Hill's legislation here.
While Washington, D.C. seems intent on enmeshing itself in self-created scandals, the states have been slipping these abortions laws under the radar. So far legislators in 30 states have proposed bills of some fashion that limit abortion.
Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana recently passed their versions of heartbeat laws. Should Florida join in, it surely will lead to a number of significant legal challenges. Georgia is currently seeing its law come under judicial challenge. A federal judge has blocked the law in the meantime. This, and certainly any current and future law challenges, are made with the intent of seeing these measures progress to the U.S. Supreme Court. That so many states are entertaining them, frankly, is a reality quietly making a mark on the political landscape.
Largely unspoken is that these advances in the name of preserving the life of the unborn come as state initiatives, after the Democratic Party's so-called blue wave last November in the mid-term election. Choice, the Dems' pet cause, has in fact been losing traction politically at a steady pace. This, despite party leaders leveling warnings that they would be intolerant of any Democrats who strayed from the pro-choice dictum.
When each of these states saw bills moving through the political process, a common refrain from opponents and Democratic leaders was that this was the handiwork of "old white males." It is a deeply emotional charge that is absent of facts. The Georgia bill had been originally co-written by a number of women. In Alabama, while a mostly male contingent passed the law, they had been placed in office by a voting base weighted by hundreds of thousands of women.
Louisiana was even more revealing. The bill was signed into law by John Edwards, the Democratic governor. It was written by a black Democratic female state politician. The threat by DNC Chair Tom Perez to pull funding of any pro-life candidates was a bit of an empty threat when the alternative would be to see themselves possibly voted out of office by a willing electorate. This is something the Democrats have failed to grasp -- their abortion agenda is not a mainstream concept.
Gallup polling has long showed that the majority of Americans still think abortion should be illegal, except for extreme cases (such as for rape, incest, etc. These new heartbeat laws have provisions for such.) In the wake of the new state laws, another poll asked respondents about the 6-week abortion ban, with most saying they felt they were not too restrictive. Another reality is that abortion rates have been in steady decline for years, and recently fell to the same rates as in 1973, the year Roe v. Wade was passed and placed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Florida is currently operating with a GOP Legislature and governor, so seeing the progress here will be an interesting enterprise. What has been apparent is that the Democratic Party and the supportive press have made it appear that mean old Republican males are trying to force women into a “Handmaid’s Tale” society. The reality is, the public support is on the pro-life side of the issue, and the tolerance of, and enthusiasm for, abortion is continuing to erode.
We will be watching to see if Florida representation will be someday soon appearing before SCOTUS, either on its own merits or in partnership with other states.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.