Florida Right to Life: Movement on Offenses Against Unborn Victims Act

HB59

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NARAL Gives Florida an “F”

Somewhat contrary to the mid-level ranking given by Americans United for Life (AUL), the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Florida an “F” on abortion-related laws.  Their methodology is here.

One would have expected the two to provide mirror images on the same issue, resulting either in a higher ranking by AUL or a mid-level ranking by NARAL.  The North Carolina’s News & Observer noticed a similar incongruity in their home state.

The answer is that NARAL declined to grade on a curve.  The full scorecard shows that NARAL ranked Florida 28th.  It looks like NARAL simply decided to use the A-F scoring in order to give the “F” label to every state ranked below 25.

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Responding to the “1 in 3” Campaign

The “1 in 3” Campaign, according to the website, has the goal of “end[ing] the stigma and shame women are made to feel about abortion.”  The campaign does this largely by encouraging particular women to tell their stories.

This article by Addie Mena on The Federalist blog describes the right response to such a campaign.  From her article:

If we want to change the dialogue on abortion we must listen carefully to the “1 in 3” campaign.  We must place ourselves in their shoes and we must tell our own stories- and help those stories shape the reality we live in.

We must be able to speak to a society in which people’s dignity is determined by their choices, where disapproval for the wrong choice tolls the death knell for one’s own worth: instead we must show a world in which dignity is inherent and persists in spite of any mistake and outside of the just consequences of them.  We must place the story of “women and their families at the center” of our society, and show mercy and respect to those who are less-than-ideal because of circumstance, choice, or both.

We must take the risk of opening ourselves to stories from all walks of life—even stories that excuse the abominable—because they offer all of us valuable insight into world in which we live, and the chance to love and understand the person with that perspective is a greater gift than liability.

Just one thing to add.  The “1 in 3” Campaign clearly goes outside of its self-described purpose by advocating for legislative protection of abortion.  Such a policy stance does not clearly follow from the general idea–the one with which we should agree–that society should respect individuals, whether they procured an abortion or not.

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AHCA Proposes Rule Revision on Ultrasound Requirements

Back in May, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) began the process of implementing changes to the rules on ultrasounds given prior to an abortion.  The ultrasound requirement–which provides the woman with the  right to decline to view and hear the ultrasound–was enacted in 2011 as an amendment to sections 390.0111 and 390.012, Florida Statutes.

Earlier this month, AHCA posted its proposed changes to the rule.  As expected, the proposed change to the rule clarifies that section 390.0111 applies and that the ultrasound requirement is non-discretionary for the abortion clinic.  The proposed language is reproduced below, with underlines and strikethroughs marking the changes from the existing rule:

59A-9.025 Medical Screening and Evaluation of Patients Receiving Second Trimester Abortions.

(1) Each abortion clinic that provides second trimester abortions shall formulate and adhere to written patient care policies and procedures designed to ensure professional and safe care for patients undergoing second trimester abortions and shall maintain a medical record for each such patient that records history, care and services. Any abortion clinic that performs second trimester abortions which is in operation at the time of adoption of this rule shall be given six months within which to comply with these patient care policies and procedures for patients undergoing second trimester abortions, to include but not limited to the following:

(a) Admission criteria and procedures;

(b) Identification in the medical record of physician(s) and nurse(s) involved in providing the services offered for patients undergoing second trimester abortions;

(c) Specific details regarding the pre-operative procedures performed, to include:

1. History and physical examination, to include verification of pregnancy, estimation of gestational age, identification of any preexisting conditions or complications; including allergies to medications, antiseptic solutions, or latex; and a complete obstetric and gynecological history.

2. Special examinations, lab procedures, and/or consultations required, to include ultrasonography to confirm gestational age and a physical examination including a bimanual examination estimating uterine size and palpation of the adnexa. The physician shall keep original prints of each ultrasound examination of a patient in the patient’s medical history file. For an abortion in which an ultrasound examination is not performed before the abortion procedure, Uurine or blood tests for pregnancy shall be performed before the abortion procedure.

(2) Laboratory Services.

(a) Laboratory services shall be provided on-site or through arrangement with a laboratory that holds the appropriate federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate and state of Florida clinical laboratory license issued pursuant to Chapter 483, Part I, F.S.

(b) All laboratory services provided on-site shall be performed in compliance with state of Florida clinical laboratory licensure and federal CLIA provisions.

(3) Laboratory Equipment and Supplies.

(a) All equipment and supplies for the collection, storage, and testing of specimens shall meet the provisions of Rule 59A-7 F.A.C., and shall be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions and in a manner that ensures accurate test results.

(b) Temperature controlled spaces for the storage of specimens or testing supplies shall be monitored and recorded to ensure that the proper storage temperature is maintained.

(c) All dated supplies and materials shall not be used beyond their expiration date.

(d) Adequate facilities and supplies for the collection, storage and transportation of laboratory specimens shall be available on site.

(4) Rh factor. Rh testing for Rh negative patients shall be conducted, unless reliable written documentation of blood type is available.

(5) All laboratory test reports shall be placed in the patient’s medical record.

(6) All laboratory test and storage areas, records and reports shall be available for inspection by the agency.

(7) If a person who is not a physician performs an ultrasound examination, that person shall have documented evidence that he or she has completed a course in the operation of ultrasound equipment. The physician, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or physician assistant shall, at the request of the patient and before the abortion procedure is performed, review the ultrasound evaluation results with the patient, including an estimate of the probable gestational age of the fetus.

(8) A test for anemia shall be performed.

(9) Each abortion clinic must be in compliance with Section 390.0111, F.S.

Rulemaking Specific Authority 390.012(1), 408.819 FS. Law Implemented 390.0111, 390.012(3)(d), 390.012(4), 390.013 FS. History–New 9-25-06, Amended__________.

NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING PROPOSED RULE: Kim Stewart, (850)412-4302

NAME OF AGENCY HEAD WHO APPROVED THE PROPOSED RULE: Elizabeth Dudek

DATE PROPOSED RULE APPROVED BY AGENCY HEAD: September 6, 2013

DATE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT PUBLISHED IN FAR: May 20, 2013

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Arizona Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court

Back in May, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an Arizona law banning most abortions past 20-weeks gestational age.  The 9th Circuit’s ruling was based on its understanding that , under Casey v. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), states cannot impose such a ban on abortions prior to viability, generally set at the 24-week mark.

The petition to the U.S. Supreme Court raises three issues (click here to read the full petition), only the last of which implicates overturning Roe v. Wade:

1. Did the Ninth Circuit correctly hold that the “viability” line from Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey remains the only critical factor in determining constitutionality, to the exclusion of other significant governmental interests, or is Arizona’s post-twenty-week limitation facially valid because it does not pose a substantial obstacle to a safe abortion?

2. Did the Ninth Circuit err in declining to recognize that the State’s interests in preventing documented fetal pain, protecting against a significantly increased health risk to the mother, and upholding the integrity of the medical profession are sufficient to support limitations on abortion after twenty weeks gestational age when terminating the pregnancy is not necessary to avert death or serious health risk to the mother?

3. If the Ninth Circuit correctly held that its decision is compelled by this Court’s precedent in Roe v. Wade and its progeny, should those precedents be revisited in light of the recent, compelling evidence of fetal pain and significantly increased health risk to the mother for abortions performed after twenty weeks gestational age?

The ultimate success of this appeal–if the U.S. Supreme Court wants to hear it–will come down to whether the Court is willing to apply Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), to this set of facts.  Gonzales really broke on some level with the Roe/Casey line of reasoning and provides a great deal of support here.

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