Contrary to popular opinion on this subject, third-trimester abortions are available in every state. In Florida, the following restrictions apply to abortions conducted within the third trimester:
390.0111 Termination of pregnancies.—
(1) TERMINATION IN THIRD TRIMESTER; WHEN ALLOWED.—No termination of pregnancy shall be performed on any human being in the third trimester of pregnancy unless:
(a) Two physicians certify in writing to the fact that, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, the termination of pregnancy is necessary to save the life or preserve the health [as defined in Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973), and including consideration of “all factors–physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age–relevant to the well-being of the patient.”] of the pregnant woman; or
(b) The physician certifies in writing to the medical necessity for legitimate emergency medical procedures for termination of pregnancy in the third trimester, and another physician is not available for consultation.
(2) PERFORMANCE BY PHYSICIAN REQUIRED.—No termination of pregnancy shall be performed at any time except by a physician as defined in s. 390.011.
(3) CONSENTS REQUIRED.—A termination of pregnancy may not be performed or induced except with the voluntary and informed written consent of the pregnant woman or, in the case of a mental incompetent, the voluntary and informed written consent of her court-appointed guardian.
(a) Except in the case of a medical emergency, consent to a termination of pregnancy is voluntary and informed only if:
1. The physician who is to perform the procedure, or the referring physician, has, at a minimum, orally, in person, informed the woman of:
a. The nature and risks of undergoing or not undergoing the proposed procedure that a reasonable patient would consider material to making a knowing and willful decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy.
b. The probable gestational age of the fetus, verified by an ultrasound, at the time the termination of pregnancy is to be performed.
(I) The ultrasound must be performed by the physician who is to perform the abortion or by a person having documented evidence that he or she has completed a course in the operation of ultrasound equipment as prescribed by rule and who is working in conjunction with the physician.
(II) The person performing the ultrasound must offer the woman the opportunity to view the live ultrasound images and hear an explanation of them. If the woman accepts the opportunity to view the images and hear the explanation, a physician or a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or physician assistant working in conjunction with the physician must contemporaneously review and explain the images to the woman before the woman gives informed consent to having an abortion procedure performed.
(III) The woman has a right to decline to view and hear the explanation of the live ultrasound images after she is informed of her right and offered an opportunity to view the images and hear the explanation. If the woman declines, the woman shall complete a form acknowledging that she was offered an opportunity to view and hear the explanation of the images but that she declined that opportunity. The form must also indicate that the woman’s decision was not based on any undue influence from any person to discourage her from viewing the images or hearing the explanation and that she declined of her own free will.
(IV) Unless requested by the woman, the person performing the ultrasound may not offer the opportunity to view the images and hear the explanation and the explanation may not be given if, at the time the woman schedules or arrives for her appointment to obtain an abortion, a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation is presented which provides evidence that the woman is obtaining the abortion because the woman is a victim of rape, incest, domestic violence, or human trafficking or that the woman has been diagnosed as having a condition that, on the basis of a physician’s good faith clinical judgment, would create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the woman delayed terminating her pregnancy.
c. The medical risks to the woman and fetus of carrying the pregnancy to term.
2. Printed materials prepared and provided by the department have been provided to the pregnant woman, if she chooses to view these materials, including:
a. A description of the fetus, including a description of the various stages of development.
b. A list of entities that offer alternatives to terminating the pregnancy.
c. Detailed information on the availability of medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.
3. The woman acknowledges in writing, before the termination of pregnancy, that the information required to be provided under this subsection has been provided.
Nothing in this paragraph is intended to prohibit a physician from providing any additional information which the physician deems material to the woman’s informed decision to terminate her pregnancy.
(b) If a medical emergency exists and a physician cannot comply with the requirements for informed consent, a physician may terminate a pregnancy if he or she has obtained at least one corroborative medical opinion attesting to the medical necessity for emergency medical procedures and to the fact that to a reasonable degree of medical certainty the continuation of the pregnancy would threaten the life of the pregnant woman. If a second physician is not available for a corroborating opinion, the physician may proceed but shall document reasons for the medical necessity in the patient’s medical records.
(c) Violation of this subsection by a physician constitutes grounds for disciplinary action under s. 458.331 or s. 459.015. Substantial compliance or reasonable belief that complying with the requirements of informed consent would threaten the life or health of the patient is a defense to any action brought under this paragraph.
(4) STANDARD OF MEDICAL CARE TO BE USED DURING VIABILITY.—If a termination of pregnancy is performed during viability, no person who performs or induces the termination of pregnancy shall fail to use that degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the fetus which such person would be required to exercise in order to preserve the life and health of any fetus intended to be born and not aborted. “Viability” means that stage of fetal development when the life of the unborn child may with a reasonable degree of medical probability be continued indefinitely outside the womb. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the woman’s life and health shall constitute an overriding and superior consideration to the concern for the life and health of the fetus when such concerns are in conflict.
(5) PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION PROHIBITED; EXCEPTION.—
(a) No physician shall knowingly perform a partial-birth abortion.
(b) A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section for a conspiracy to violate the provisions of this section.
(c) This subsection shall not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury, provided that no other medical procedure would suffice for that purpose.
(6) EXPERIMENTATION ON FETUS PROHIBITED; EXCEPTION.—No person shall use any live fetus or live, premature infant for any type of scientific, research, laboratory, or other kind of experimentation either prior to or subsequent to any termination of pregnancy procedure except as necessary to protect or preserve the life and health of such fetus or premature infant.
(7) FETAL REMAINS.—Fetal remains shall be disposed of in a sanitary and appropriate manner and in accordance with standard health practices, as provided by rule of the Department of Health. Failure to dispose of fetal remains in accordance with department rules is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE IN TERMINATION PROCEDURE.—Nothing in this section shall require any hospital or any person to participate in the termination of a pregnancy, nor shall any hospital or any person be liable for such refusal. No person who is a member of, or associated with, the staff of a hospital, nor any employee of a hospital or physician in which or by whom the termination of a pregnancy has been authorized or performed, who shall state an objection to such procedure on moral or religious grounds shall be required to participate in the procedure which will result in the termination of pregnancy. The refusal of any such person or employee to participate shall not form the basis for any disciplinary or other recriminatory action against such person.
(9) EXCEPTION.—The provisions of this section shall not apply to the performance of a procedure which terminates a pregnancy in order to deliver a live child.
(10) PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION.—Except as provided in subsections (3) and (7):
(a) Any person who willfully performs, or actively participates in, a termination of pregnancy procedure in violation of the requirements of this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(11) CIVIL ACTION PURSUANT TO PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION; RELIEF.—
(a) The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion, and, if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus may, in a civil action, obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff’s criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.
(b) In a civil action under this section, appropriate relief includes:
1. Monetary damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of subsection (5).
2. Damages equal to three times the cost of the partial-birth abortion.
(12) FAILURE TO COMPLY.—Failure to comply with the requirements of this section constitutes grounds for disciplinary action under each respective practice act and under s. 456.072.
(13) RULES.—The applicable boards, or the department if there is no board, shall adopt rules necessary to implement the provisions of this section.