2012-01-05 "Florida Wants Abortions Punishable By Life In Prison" by Jessica Pieklo
Well that didn’t take long. Following right behind Mississippi in the march to criminalize women’s health care, Florida state Rep. Charles Van Zant (R) has proposed a measure that would make it a felony punishable by life in prison except when a doctor meets very specific conditions designed to make sure no abortions are performed [http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/04/397924/florida-bill-would-make-abortion-a-felony-with-a-maximum-sentence-of-life-in-prison/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter].
Among the conditions a doctor would need to meet, and therefore a woman is subjected to are:
* certification in writing by two physicians that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of a pregnancy is necessary to prevent the death of the patient;
* two doctors certify in writing to the fact that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of a pregnancy is necessary because to continue the pregnancy would unreasonably reduce the likelihood of successful treatment of a life-threatening disease of the patient; or
* a doctor certifies in writing that a medical emergency existed and another doctor was not available for consultation prior to termination of the pregnancy and that medical condition must be “clearly described.”
The measure also mandates that doctors provide some women and minors who have been treated by the facility with information regarding adoption and a statewide list of attorneys available to provide volunteer legal services for adoption. If a doctor fails to meet these requirements, or provides abortion services in any other case including rape or incest they would face the possibility of the rest of their life behind bars.
The proposal is obviously unconstitutional. But that’s not the point. The point is to pass it and force a legal challenge and, hopefully, create a ruling that allows some of these measures to stick until another restriction passes and finally, ultimately, abortion is legal in name only.
One more note- should you need any more evidence that the hard right views women’s lives as disposable, look at the second bullet. In the case of an abortion to start or continue life saving treatments, such as chemotherapy, two doctors must agree, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that continuing the pregnancy would unreasonably reduce the success of those treatments. Unreasonably reduce. That means, essentially, that only if not one but two doctors agree that it is nearly certain continuing a pregnancy would kill the mother facing a life-threatening illness, only then can an abortion happen legally and without a doctor facing the rest of his or her life in prison.
It’s going to be a long year.