A Republican Florida state lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bill that is modeled after a strict Texas law prohibiting abortions after six weeks, drawing condemnation from supporters of abortion rights who fear such legislation might soon be introduced in other states.
House Bill 167 was filed by Florida state Rep. Webster Barnaby. The bill, like the Texas law, contains a procedural feature that allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against physicians who provide abortions after six weeks as well as any person who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” The Florida legislation, like the Texas law, also provides for remedies and damages.
Barnaby’s introduction of the bill comes weeks after the US Supreme Court allowed Texas’ law to go into effect and several days after a doctor in the state — who publicly claimed that he had violated the ban — was hit with at least two lawsuits brought against him under the ban. Both lawsuits are brought by plaintiffs who say they oppose the new law, but are eager to get the challenge before a judge.
Notably, the Florida bill allows lawsuits to be brought up to six years after an abortion was performed in violation of the law, whereas supporters of the Texas law say that measure creates a four-year window for bringing suits.