By KEVIN DERBY, Sunshine State News
Engaging in often emotion debates over the proposals, the Florida House Wednesday passed a package of pro-life legislation, including a measure requiring women seeking abortions to have and pay for an ultrasound.
Republicans and Democrats engaged in limited debate over the bills based on a previous agreement. At the start of the debate, House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami marshaled Republicans, while Rep. Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek served in his now-familiar role as floor manager for the Democrats.
The first bill tackled was HB 501 which was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. Baxley’s bill would move fees garnered from the sale of the ChooseLife license plates to be redistributed from counties to the Choose Life Foundation, which runs pregnancy centers encouraging pregnant women to put their unborn children up for adoption instead of having an abortion. The bill passed 82-35 with four Democrats breaking with their party to back the measure.
“Never has a specialty plate been more harassed than this specialty plate,” said Baxley, who added that it was over its pro-life message. He attacked the “lack of uniformity” currently in place in the counties.
Democrats tried to chip away at the measure, arguing that the money raised may not be spent in the Sunshine State.
“There is no guarantee that the women helped will be … in Florida,” said Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach.
“There is nothing that they are doing that is above the radar,” insisted Waldman, who argued that the state could not hold the organization accountable.
“We know where the money will go,” fired back Rep. Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg. “We know it is, in fact, a pro-life organization.”
Baxley also sponsored forwarding a proposed constitutional amendment to the voters which would ensure the Florida Constitution would not create broader abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution. The proposal passed 82-35.
Republicans backed the measure, arguing that the proposal would allow Floridians to weigh in on the matter while still respecting Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.
Read more: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/florida-life-passes-mandatory-ultrasound-and-other-pro-life-bills