Tags: Abortion | Florida | abortion laws

Florida Abortion Laws and How They Compare Nationally

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Oct 2015 02:10 PM

Florida is one of the toughest states when it comes to abortion laws, with restrictions geared toward exhausting all options before permitting a woman to end a pregnancy.

Lawmakers in each state have been tasked with determining abortion regulations since the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, which gave women nationwide the right to an abortion.

Florida mandates state-sponsored, in-person counseling with a pro-life viewpoint for woman seeking an abortion, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. These sessions consist of a doctor explaining "(1) the nature and risks of undergoing or not undergoing the proposed procedure; (2) the probable gestational age of the fetus, verified by an ultrasound; and (3) the medical risks to the woman and the fetus of carrying the pregnancy to term."

Vote Now: Do You Support Tougher Regulations on Abortion Clinics?

The sessions also include the mother being presented with materials that show the fetus at various stages, as well as a list of adoption agencies. Florida recently tacked on a 24-hour waiting period after the counseling, which went into effect in July, according to The Daily Signal.

These restrictions cement Florida as a strong advocate of pro-life issues. For that, the state received an F grade from NARAL, a group which scores all 50 states based on whether various abortion laws make it easier or more difficult to end a pregnancy. Florida is joined by northern neighbors Alabama and Georgia, as well as nearby Mississippi in getting failing grades in NARAL's view.

California, New Jersey, Maryland, and Vermont earned top marks for their progressive abortion stance with few major restrictions. California received an A+ rating from the pro-choice group, while Maryland and Vermont received A grades. New Jersey got an A-.

A minor's parents must be notified before an abortion can be performed. All woman must also undergo an ultrasound and be given the option to see the picture.

Beyond the emotional implications, private insurance policies and those offered in the Sunshine State exchanges under the Affordable Care Act pay for abortions only when the mother's life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Additional coverage may be purchased through an optional rider, though that comes with the caveat that no insurer is required to make such an option available, according to NARAL.

Vote Here: Should Abortion Clinics Be Subject to Tougher Regulations?

Another loophole exists, as Florida allows medical professionals or organizations to deny abortion on moral or religious grounds, and prohibits public funding for women in non-rape, incest or life-threatening situations — and such a refusal cannot be the basis for any liability, according to NARAL.

Despite the restrictions, Florida's abortion rates skewed higher than the national figures from 1991-2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In 2011, 1.1 million American women had abortions, or 16.9 abortions out of 1,000 women of reproductive age. That same year in Florida, 84,990 women, or 23.7 in every 1,000 women of reproductive age, terminated a pregnancy. One of the most populous states, Florida abortions accounted for 8 percent of the U.S. total.

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Florida is one of the toughest states when it comes to abortion laws, with restrictions geared toward exhausting all options before permitting a woman to end a pregnancy.
Florida, abortion laws
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2015-10-07
Wednesday, 07 Oct 2015 02:10 PM
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