Democrats Florida’s House on Tuesday filed a pile of amendments to water down and lampoon a Republican-led bill that would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, including an amendment that would dub the proposed law the “Forced Pregnancy Act.”
The push by Florida lawmakers to place even further restrictions beyond the state’s 15 week ban on abortions, which is being challenged in court, has drawn national pushback but Republicans hold a large majority in the state legislature.
Still, Florida Democrats used the amendment process to express their opposition.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) filed the amendment that would refer to the bill as the “Forced Pregnancy Act.” Eskamini said on Twitter that the amendment “more accurately describes the ban.”
Eskamani also offered an amendment that would require that anyone denied an abortion under the bill be provided a document that lists the names of lawmakers that voted for the bill and the name of the governor who signs the bill.
The bill is likely to force Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) into the national abortion debate as he considers running for president.
Rep. Hillary Cassel (D-Broward) proposed an amendment to the bill that would provide a religious exception to the six week ban, meaning anyone who has a “sincerely held religious belief that permits or requires the termination of pregnancy” beyond the restrictions of the bill would not be subject to the ban.
Eskamani also offered a change to the bill that would prolong its going into effect, using terminology sometimes used in contracts to delay enforcement in perpetuity, saying the bill would be effective “21 years after the death of the last surviving descendant of King Charles III, King of England.”
Rep. Katherine Waldron (D-Palm Beach) proposed that a woman who is blocked from having an abortion under the bill, along with the father of the child, be given three months of fully paid maternity or paternity leave.
The proposed changes were part of more than 50 amendments that Democrats offered to the bill on Tuesday, as House lawmakers prepare to take up the bill that cleared the state Senate earlier this month.
The bill makes exceptions in cases of rape and incest and in the event that a mother’s life is at serious risk, not including psychological health.
If it clears the Senate, the bill could be on DeSantis’ desk as early as this week. The governor has indicated he will sign the bill.