New bill would make performing an abortion a felony in Florida


Despite the fact that U.S. Supreme Court justices affirmed that women have a right to abortions in Roe v. Wade, some Florida lawmakers are ignoring this 43-year-old ruling and proposing a bill that would pretty much ban abortions in the state. 

The Miami Herald reports the Florida House's Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted to advance HB 865, a bill that "would make performing an abortion or operating an abortion clinic a first-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 30 years in prison." 

The bill says the Legislature "acknowledges that all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that first among these is their right to life. The Legislature finds that all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg." 

The sponsor for HB 865, Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, has put up similar legislation for the past seven years, but it's the first time it has been considered by a committee, thanks to Criminal Justice Subcommittee chair Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. 

“The bill recognizes that both the mother and the baby are citizens of the state of Florida," Van Zant tells the Herald. "...And we are therefore compelled to protect their lives." 

Ironically, the bill asks the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southern Pennsylvania v. Casey. While Florida lawmakers were pondering the bill, the Supreme Court was busy Monday rejecting North Dakota's appeal to "enforce a law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy," according to the Associated Press

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.