A new amendment to Florida’s proposed 15-week abortion ban would see fathers paying child support from a woman’s 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is about to sign the bill into law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing only for exceptions involving “serious risk” to the pregnant person and fatal fetal abnormality. The state currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Under the new bill, there are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Senator Tina Scott proposed an amendment that would require the father of the child to start paying child support as soon as abortions are no longer legal.
The mother-to-be would also receive health insurance coverage for the term of pregnancy and any affiliated postpartum care needs after the child is born. If the unborn child is contested, the court will not be allowed to enforce any child support payments until paternity is determined. Child support payments would then be backdated.
Sen. Lauren Book, a Democrat, urged senators to allow exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.
“It’s not OK to force someone who’s been sexually assaulted and impregnated to carry that pregnancy to term if they don’t want too, it’s just not,” Book said. “And if a woman or a girl needs more than 15 weeks to decide, we should be able to give that to her.”
A separate amendment, filed by Democratic member of the Florida Senate, Loranne Ausley, would require the Department of Health to conduct a racial impact study by the fetal and infant mortality review committees. The study would include “a comprehensive review of existing literature on fetal and infant mortality disparities,” to resolve what elements correlated to high fetal and infant mortality rates among minorities.
She also shared that in more rural communities, getting to a doctor can be difficult.
“I represent 10 rural counties where there is not one single OBGYN in the county, so this presents a very undue burden for those living in rural communities,” Ausley said.