Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected

By Danielle Garrand

/ CBS News

Planned Parenthood exec on Roe v. Wade

A bill filed by a Florida state lawmaker aiming to ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected has led to public outcry from some progressive groups, with one advocate stating it's "among the most extreme" ever filed in the country.

House Bill 235, filed by Republican Florida state Rep. Mike Hill, would make it illegal for women to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The lawmaker, who represents a part of the city of Pensacola and the state's Northern panhandle, told CBS News he filed the bill "because it will save lives. It will save the unborn babies."

Hill believes in the statement from "The Declaration of Independence" which says, "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," also applies to unborn children.

As a lawmaker, he said he's "there to secure those God-given rights, one being life."

Hill's bill would require doctors to provide an examination for a "detectable fetal heartbeat" on women seeking an abortion and inform them if there is a heartbeat, as well as review the results of the exam.

Women who decline to review the results, need to do so in writing.

The fetal heartbeat is usually detected when a woman is around six weeks pregnant. Women typically discover within four to seven weeks that they are pregnant, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

According to the bill, any person who provides an abortion after a heartbeat is detected commits a third-degree felony.

"It is definitely the most extreme proposal we've ever entertained in Florida and among the most extreme in the United States," Amy Weintraub, the reproductive rights program director for Progress Florida, told CBS News.

Weintraub said this kind of restriction would make it difficult for most women to discover they are pregnant and arrange for an abortion procedure in time.

Weintraub said the limitations would "require you to get the money together, to get the transportation together. It puts legal abortion out of reach for most people."

And, she said, it would disproportionately impact low-income women.

"People with resources can travel to other states if necessary. For sure it will affect low-income women more harshly," said Weintraub.

Hill refuted the claim, "That's nonsense. Those on the left are always trying to divide or place people in certain groups or categories. I don't agree with that, because my bill does not designate your income."

The bill does permit an abortion in cases of incest, rape, human trafficking, with "a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation" to prove the claim.

Additionally, an abortion can be provided if a woman has been diagnosed with a condition that "would create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the woman delayed terminating her pregnancy."

Currently in Florida, abortions are banned 24 weeks after the woman's last menstrual period, unless the mother's life is in danger or her physical health is seriously compromised.

The bill also strikes "fetus" from current abortion-related laws replacing the word with "unborn human being," defining it as "an individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth."

"There cannot be the argument that this is not a human being," Hill said. "What it [HB 235] does is to protect lives of what is determined to be a functioning human being."

Hill said that his bill "does nothing to infringe upon or prevent birth control or contraception or family planning. I would like to see that even more available, but I believe it is readily available now."

As of 2014, about 70 percent of Florida counties did not have clinics that provided abortions and 20 percent of women in the state lived in those counties, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

While some critics of the bill said it would restrict the control women have over their bodies, Hill said the belief people have "sole control" of their bodies is "inaccurate."

"Women are told what to do with their bodies all the time. Women are told that you can't drink and drive, women are told that you can't murder. The idea that women are in sole control of their bodies is inaccurate — just as the same as there are laws that say men aren't in sole control of their bodies," Hill said. "You have the right of your pursuit of happiness, as long as it doesn't infringe upon another person's pursuit of happiness."

House Bill 235 is similar to others filed in 10 other states, but none of them have made it past governors, legislatures or courts, according to The Gainesville Sun.

"There is a reason this bill has failed in many other states — that is because it is unconstitutional," Florida's Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement Jan. 16. "We will fight to see that this legislation never becomes law in Florida."

However, the state's governor has indicated he would support such legislation in the past.

During now-Gov. Ron DeSantis' first gubernatorial debate, he pledged to sign legislation that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected, reports Politico.

Also, the state's Supreme Court, which has been viewed as a final barrier against attempts to decrease abortion access, is changing after three justices recently retired, The Gainesville Sun points out.

DeSantis has filled two of the seats with judges who are members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group which supported the nomination and confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The bill was filed Jan. 10 for consideration during the next legislative session which begins in early March.

First published on January 22, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected

"It is definitely the most extreme proposal we've ever entertained in Florida and among the most extreme in the United States," a progressive group said in opposition to the bill

updated 18M ago

2 doctors leave facility that took care of incapacitated woman who gave birth

"Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family," Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement

1H ago

Conflicting accounts sowed confusion about Lincoln Memorial incident

Video showing a group of teenagers and a Native American man on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial went viral

5H ago

New migrant caravan waiting in Mexico hopes to reach U.S.

Thousands of migrants left Honduras a week ago after word about a new caravan spread on Facebook

5H ago

Hospitals' confusing online price lists give patients a headache

A new rule requires hospitals to post their prices, but the lists are hard to understand and there are no standards for pricing

4H ago

Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected

"It is definitely the most extreme proposal we've ever entertained in Florida and among the most extreme in the United States," a progressive group said in opposition to the bill

updated 18M ago

Shutdown could soon exceed cost of border wall

Partial closure of government hurts economy to tune of $1.2 billion a week — and weekly tab swells the longer it lasts

6H ago

Kamala Harris' campaign pays tribute to Shirley Chisholm's historic 1972 run

Chisholm was both the first woman and the first African American to seek the nomination of a major party

6H ago

Sanders calls Trump "racist" at South Carolina MLK Day speech

Sanders and Cory Booker called for an end to racial injustice at an event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

7H ago

House Democrats eager to wield new authority to scrutinize DeVos

The secretary of education faces new oversight with Democrats controlling the House

9H ago

Scientist who helped create first gene-edited babies fired by university

He Jiankui evaded supervision of his work and violated research norms because he wanted to be famous — and could face prosecution for using CRISPR technology, authorities said

2H ago

New migrant caravan waiting in Mexico hopes to reach U.S.

Thousands of migrants left Honduras a week ago after word about a new caravan spread on Facebook

5H ago

Georgia hunter threatened over photos with dead elephant speaks out

Mike Jines, a partner with TopGen Energy, said his critics are misinterpreting what really happened

6H ago

Godspeed: Vatican's track team passes milestone with first race

The Vatican is setting its sights on the Olympics after launching its own track and field team this month

9H ago

Journalist held in Iran for 544 days recalls "avocado" interrogation

The Washington Post journalist was released in 2016 alongside three other Americans in a prisoner swap with Iran

10H ago

Director Patty Jenkins was "rocked" by the true story of "I Am the Night"

The "Wonder Woman" director says she was "overwhelmed" with how dark Fauna Hodel's story was

9H ago

Fyre Festival victim reaps online donations

A Bahamian caterer owed money by Fyre Festival has raised more than $100,000 through a GoFundMe campaign

5H ago

First woman to publicly accuse R. Kelly of misconduct: "They're believing now"

Singer Sparkle's professional relationship with the R&B legend crumbled amid accusations Kelly was sexually abusing her then 14-year-old niece

16H ago

Remembering the one and only Carol Channing

The beloved Broadway star who owned the title role in "Hello, Dolly!" died this past week at age 97

Jan 20

"Mobituaries": The other Kennedy

Comedian Vaughn Meader's impersonation of JFK made "The First Family" the most-talked-about album in the country, until the day shots were fired in Dallas

Jan 20

Scientist who helped create first gene-edited babies fired by university

He Jiankui evaded supervision of his work and violated research norms because he wanted to be famous — and could face prosecution for using CRISPR technology, authorities said

2H ago

French watchdog slaps Google with $57M fine under new EU law

Internet giant punished for violating European privacy rules aimed at protecting consumer data

12H ago

"Super blood wolf moon" puts on show in night sky

The rare celestial event wowed anyone who saw it

18H ago

Almanac: The English Channel Tunnel

On January 20, 1986, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterand broke new ground on the long-dreamed-of "Chunnel"

Jan 20

U.S. spy satellite launched into orbit from California

Running more than a month late, a Delta 4 rocket carrying a spy satellite finally blasted off Saturday.

Jan 19

Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected

"It is definitely the most extreme proposal we've ever entertained in Florida and among the most extreme in the United States," a progressive group said in opposition to the bill

updated 18M ago

2 doctors leave facility that took care of incapacitated woman who gave birth

"Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family," Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement

1H ago

Scientist who helped create first gene-edited babies fired by university

He Jiankui evaded supervision of his work and violated research norms because he wanted to be famous — and could face prosecution for using CRISPR technology, authorities said

2H ago

Hospitals' confusing online price lists give patients a headache

A new rule requires hospitals to post their prices, but the lists are hard to understand and there are no standards for pricing

4H ago

Incapacitated woman who gave birth not in coma, lawyer says

Phoenix police have said woman was victim of sexual assault and have disclosed little other information

6H ago

Shutdown could soon exceed cost of border wall

Partial closure of government hurts economy to tune of $1.2 billion a week — and weekly tab swells the longer it lasts

6H ago

NFL wants ban on player "prop" bets, popular for Super Bowl

League has called for ban on proposition bets on individual athletes' feats, arguing they heighten risks of cheating

5H ago

Pork patties sold at Kroger, Walmart and other stores may contain rubber

Wisconsin sausage producer shipped more than 48,000 pounds of possibly tainted meat to retailers nationwide

11H ago

Fyre Festival victim reaps online donations

A Bahamian caterer owed money by Fyre Festival has raised more than $100,000 through a GoFundMe campaign

5H ago

French watchdog slaps Google with $57M fine under new EU law

Internet giant punished for violating European privacy rules aimed at protecting consumer data

12H ago

2 doctors leave facility that took care of incapacitated woman who gave birth

"Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family," Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement

1H ago

Incapacitated woman who gave birth not in coma, lawyer says

Phoenix police have said woman was victim of sexual assault and have disclosed little other information

6H ago

"Shocking scene": Deputies find 4 bodies, then shoot man trying to kill girl

Mark Leo Gregory Gago, 42, killed his parents, his girlfriend and their infant daughter Saturday night before deputies shot him, police say

5H ago

Alabama police officer killed in the line of duty; suspect in custody

Officer Sean Tuder, 30, was fatally shot during an investigation Sunday; police have charged 19-year-old suspect with capital murder

3H ago

Podcast spotlights 1990 double murder – can new DNA technology solve the cold case?

A man haunted by the unsolved murders of his step-grandmother and her friend made a podcast about the crime — it's a story that "48 Hours" started covering as a cold case, but turned into something very different thanks to a relentless detective and cutting-edge technology

23H ago