By Brianna Bush
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Republican state lawmaker Webster Barnaby of Florida proposed a bill that would prohibit abortions at around six weeks into pregnancy.
Known as the Florida Heartbeat Act, the 40-page proposal upholds that the bill will require “a physician to conduct a test for, and inform a woman seeking an abortion of the presence of a detectable fetal heartbeat.”
Following the “restrictive Texas-style abortion bill” said by NPR, there are exceptions laid out in the proposal including rape, incest, or medical emergencies that put the mother at risk.
The bill is stirring up controversy with lawmakers pushing for its enactment and individual citizens who believe they have the right to free will.
“As a female, I don’t want the government telling me what I should and should not do with my body,” said Kristen Foltz, director of communication and speech studies at The University of Tampa and licensed Florida attorney. “As an attorney, I respect the written laws of the land and understand that if something is passed, it is procedural accurately.”
Some UT students are concerned about the advances by lawmakers to push restrictive abortion laws.
“I dont believe in abortion myself but the rules are too extensive,” said Kendra Williams, senior communications major. “They are pushing it too far.”
If passed, this bill will also grant individuals the right to sue someone that helps them terminate a pregnancy after six weeks.
“I think it’s wrong because after six weeks some women don’t know if they’re pregnant or not,” said Maggie Hanley, junior communications major. “I think trying to govern women’s bodies, in general, isn’t right.”
According to Hanley, the proposed bill is a step backward for our generation.
“It’s more about having power over women than actual women,” said Hanley.
Alex Martinez, a senior communication speech major, has a younger sister and said he is able to see how the bill will impact women.
“I personally think it endangers a lot of women, men in legislation should not be making rules on women’s bodies,” said Martinez. “At the end of the day, it is up to your personal beliefs but you have to hold yourself to the same standards.”
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, nearly 75,000 abortions were reported in Florida in 2020, an increase of four percent from the previous year. Additionally, seven percent of the abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20, and twenty-seven percent of Florida abortions were obtained by women ages 20 to 24.
The Dickey Health and Wellness Center offers health services for women, however, abortion services are not offered at UT.
“I have been here three years and there has only been two students who were pregnant asking if there were resources in the community where they could receive an abortion,” said a Dickey Health and Wellness Center nurse.
Officials can not recommend specific resources for students but they can notify them that there are resources nearby.
“It is their choice to decide where they receive an abortion,” said the nurse.
The bill, which is currently filed for consideration, has continued to strike an ongoing debate about the rights of an unborn child and the rights of the mother.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.