Florida bill requiring waiting period for abortion debated

Party-line vote sent bill to governor despite objections from female lawmakers


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bill that would require a waiting period for an abortion was hotly debated on the Senate floor Friday. A party-line vote sent it to the governor, despite objections from multiple female lawmakers.

The bill provides an exemption for victims of sexual crimes like rape and incest, but the victim would have to provide documentation.

The debate over whether or not the state should impose a 24-hour waiting period on abortions raged for an hour in the Florida Senate.

"Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose, and every year we come up with another bill that becomes an impediment," Sen. Arthenia Joyner said.

"Those of us here in the chamber really don't like that much government intrusion, but we don't mind it if the governor comes into the examining room for a woman," Sen. Maria Sachs said.

The bill's sponsor said it wasn't targeting a woman's ability to choose.

"If all that this bill does is have one woman, just one, say, 'I'm going to make the decision to have this baby,' I will consider that a huge success," Sen. Anitere Flores said.

While female senators debated a woman's right to choose, some of the most emotional testimony came from a man.

Former Senate President Don Gaetz told a story about his wife, Vicki Gaetz. She suffered a rare spinal injury while pregnant 29 years ago. Gaetz said she was advised to have an abortion.

"So she thought about it, I think for a day or two, and then she came back, 'I'm going to live and my baby's going to live.' And today our daughter, that baby, is a 29-year-old network television producer," said Don Gaetz.

The bill passed with only opposition from Democrats. It is now on its way to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.