WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — On Tuesday, lawmakers debated Senate Bill 300, which would ban abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
The Senate Fiscal Policy committee has approved SB 300 and it now heads to the full Senate for a final discussion and a vote and emotions were high.
“This amendment tells women and pregnant people along with their doctors that we trust them to decide what’s best for their health and access that care here,” said Senator Lori Berman.
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The Senate committee gathered Tuesday to review potential amendments to SB 300.
The bill, written by Treasure Coast State Senator Erin Grall, would restrict abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
It includes exceptions to save the life of the mother or if there is evidence of a fatal defect a child could not survive.
However, Senator Lori Berman of Boynton Beach has been calling for additional amendments, suggesting the mental well-being of a pregnant woman should be factored in. She said there may be special circumstances when an abortion ought to be considered as an option.
Berman also wants to remove the 24-hour waiting period for a woman to get an abortion.
During public comment, pro-life and pro-choice voices were sounding off.
“The last thing that creates a higher quality of life for children is to force a woman to give birth to a child and to have to care for that child when they are mentally ill,” said a supporter of the amendments.
“The real crisis, the real mental crisis is caused by abortion, not pregnancy. This amendment is frivolous and ridiculous, please stop the charade and vote this amendment down,” said Executive Director of Florida Voice For The Unborn Andrew Shirvell.
Both amendments proposed by Berman were shot down.
The bill, as it was originally drafted, is now moving forward.
Republicans hold the majority in Florida’s senate.
All but one republican voted to pass this bill.
All democrats oppose it.
The question of the viability of a pregnancy at 6 weeks remained a big focus during discussions.
CBS12 News spoke to veteran Palm Beach County OB/GYN Dr. Collette Brown-Graham who said the first 6 weeks can be an uncertain time for women.
“We generally see people somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks, most people like to see them after 6 weeks because there is the fetal heartbeat is seen at about 6 weeks,” said Dr. Collette Brown-Graham.
The bill will be heard in front of the full senate Thursday, and it will be met with more questions from lawmakers.
After the full senate, there’s only one step left in the process: the governor’s desk.
Governor DeSantis has said he supports pro-life legislation, but his office has not responded to our question about whether he will sign this legislation.