The legal fight to ban nearly all abortions could take center-stage in Florida during next year’s legislative session. A state lawmaker from Pensacola says he’ll introduce a bill during the 2020 session similar to a controversial piece of legislation enacted by the Alabama state legislature earlier this month.
As reported by the Pensacola News Journal, Rep. Mike Hill told a Pensacola group Thursday that God told him to sponsor the legislation.
Hill filed a bill during this past session that would have banned abortions in Florida if a fetal heartbeat was detected. Despite having picked up 20 cosponsors, his proposal never received a committee hearing.
Speaking at a meeting of Women for Responsible Legislation at Pensacola City Hall, Hill said the fetal heartbeat bill was modeled on other states that had passed similar bills and included exceptions for rape, incest, domestic violence, human trafficking or if the woman’s life is in danger.
He said God spoke to him during an anti-abortion rally held a few weeks ago in Pensacola.
“As plain as day, God spoke to me,” Hill said. “He said that wasn’t my bill, talking about the heartbeat detection bill that I filed. He said that wasn’t my bill. I knew immediately what he was talking about. He said, you remove those exceptions and you file it again. And I said yes Lord, I will. It’s coming back. It’s coming back. We are going to file that bill without any exceptions just like what we saw passed in Alabama.”
Kate Lannamann with the Florida Interfaith Coalition takes exception with Hill’s views on abortion. The coalition consists of clergy, faith leaders and lay people throughout Florida from various religions and church denominations who believe women have the moral right to make reproductive decisions about their bodies.
“While the multiple faiths and denominations of the Florida Interfaith Coalition do not hold the same theological views, we are in agreement that all women must be able to make reproductive decisions in keeping with their faith and their conscience without government interference or coercion,” Lannamann said. “We believe in the moral authority of each woman to know what is best for her and her family. Accordingly, abortion must remain legal and accessible in accordance with existing laws.
The issue drew national attention when the Alabama Legislature passed a similar law earlier this month that provides the only exception to the ban is when a woman’s health is threatened. Abortion-rights groups believe the ban goes too far, as do some anti-abortion advocates.
Alabama’s law is expected to be challenged in the courts.