governor signs new abortion restrictions
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[June 14, 2014]
By Bill Cotterell
TALLAHASSEE Florida (Reuters) - Florida
Governor Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday barring late-term
abortions in cases where doctors determine an unborn child could survive
outside the womb, in a move critics say further chips away at abortion
The measure is among new limits on abortion pushed by Republicans
in several states, some of which have prompted court challenges.
Existing Florida law forbids abortion after 24 weeks' gestation,
unless a woman's life or health is jeopardized by continued
The new law, effective next month, sets the no-abortion point at any
stage of development when a doctor determines the fetus is viable.
Once fetal viability is attained, no abortion would be allowed under
the new law unless two doctors certify in writing that termination
is necessary to save the patient's life or to "avert a serious risk
of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major
bodily function ... other than a psychological condition."
The bill's sponsors argued modern medicine has made it possible to
save infants far earlier than the third-trimester standard for
pregnancy termination used by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1973
ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Critics accused Scott and Republican legislative leaders of failing
to respect women's rights.
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"They don't think women should be able to control their own health
care decisions," said Barbara DeVane, a Tallahassee lobbyist for the
National Organization for Women (NOW).
DeVane said she did not know if NOW would take the issue to court in
Florida, but predicted patients will challenge the law.
(Editing by David Adams, Jonathan Kaminsky and Sandra Maler)
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