When it comes to curbing abortions, Florida Republicans didn't practice what they preached in 2019.
Two proposals (SB 792 and HB 235), the "fetal heartbeat" bills, were terminated by GOP leadership relatively early during the 2019 legislative cycle.
Introduced by Sen. Dennis Baxley and Rep. Mike Hill, the bills would've banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected — usually around the six-week mark. The measure would've also made it a felony for any person who “knowingly or purposefully performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human being whose fetal heartbeat has been detected."
The pro-life bill was a no-brainer for conservatives wanting to set an important precedent in a time where states like New York, Virginia, and Illinois are expanding late-term abortions.
While the clock ran out on these pro-life proposals, the Sunshine State will get a second chance to take a stand against abortions in 2020.
On Oct. 1, Hill refiled a similar fetal heartbeat bill (HB 271) in the Florida House, banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected. Hill's new version, however, strips any medical exceptions, including in the event that the mother's life is in danger.
The bill also changes every mention of the word fetus in the statute to "preborn human being.
Hill is hoping that last year's gridlock on the bill doesn't return in 2020.
"I'm not sure why saving innocent lives is not a legislative priority. There is a movement across the heartland of American that supports and is passing the heartbeat detection bill," Rep. Hill told The Florida Report. "Florida should be part of that momentum and put an end to this holocaust."
Whether or not Republicans in the House will rally behind Hill's pro-life measure next session is unclear. Two conservative lawmakers, however, have already backed Hill's proposal.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a staunch conservative in the Florida House who represents House District 32, was the first to throw his support behind the bill, being the initial co-sponsor.
"Proud to be the first co-sponsor of HB 271, the 'Heartbeat Bill'," Sabatini said. "This bill would make it illegal for an abortion to take place if a physician is able to detect a fetal heartbeat. I will always stand on the side of Life!"
"I can't see how any person is OK with the killing of a preborn child with a heartbeat," he continued.
The other co-sponsor is Rep. Brett Hage, a Republican who represents House District 33.
Hill's bill isn't the only one filed so far that would change Florida's abortion laws. At least two other bills have been filed that would require parental consent for any minor seeking an abortion and would make it a crime for any doctor to perform an abortion on a minor without parental consent.