The Senate passed two of the House's anti-abortion measures on Thursday. Both were amended to allow exceptions in cases where the mother's health is at risk.
HB 97, passed by a vote of 28 to 11 with Republican Senators Nancy Detert and Evelyn Lynn voting against it, would ban insurance policies created through the federal health care law from offering abortion coverage. The House passed the bill on Wednesday, and the Senate's amended version needs to go back to that chamber for final approval before it can go to Gov. Rick Scott to be signed into law. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Destin is the sponsor of the House bill. Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville sponsored the Senate version.
The Senate also voted 27 to 12 in favor of HB 1179, which proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit public funding of abortions. It, too, needs to go back to the House for final approval before going to the Supreme Court for review. If the Court approves the ballot language, Florida will consider the measure in November 2012.
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, sponsored the bill in the Senate. "Give Floridians a voice on this matter. Should we pay for abortions?" she said before the favorable vote. Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, sponsored the bill in the House. The House approved six anti-abortion measures on Wednesday.
"This is just unacceptable," said Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, before the vote on Flores' constitutional amendment. She noted the bill is part of a pattern in the current legislature to deny women the right to do what they want with their bodies. "Women should have the right to make that decision," she said.