Editor's note: Carol Moore co-authored this column.
In many attributes that inspire local pride and make a state a desirable place to live, Florida is at or near the top of the list. U.S. News & World Report ranks it first in the nation for higher education. Last year, it beat out Texas as the top moving destination in America, and no wonder why – it is home to the country’s warmest climes and some of its most popular beaches and resorts. The state also gets high marks for fiscal stability.
Unfortunately, Florida also tops the list in one category that shouldn’t make anyone happy or proud: late-term abortions.
It’s a little-known and shocking fact that the United States is one of only seven nations in the world that allow abortion on demand for any reason after five months, more than halfway through pregnancy – a point when science shows unborn babies are capable of feeling excruciating pain. This ignominious club includes China and North Korea, not exactly known for having stellar records on human rights and dignity.
Within the U.S., Florida is also an outlier with an embarrassingly high annual number of late-term abortions. In 2019, according to data from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, more than 900 late-term abortions were carried out – the equivalent of 15 school busses full of children.
In fact, Florida has the most late-term abortions of any Republican-led state, which tend to be more protective of unborn human life – putting the Sunshine State closely behind New York and New Jersey in late-term abortion rates. Now that’s painful!
An overwhelming majority of Floridians, regardless of their politics or their general feelings about the issue of abortion, agree this is a problem. Polling conducted as recently as February 2019 shows that 76% of Florida voters—including 64% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, 77% of women, and 53% of self-described pro-choice voters—support a law limiting late-term abortions.
Fortunately, state lawmakers and pro-life advocates are working together on a solution. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, soon to be introduced in the coming legislative session that opened with Committee Weeks on January 11, would protect babies from five months onward based on the compelling scientific evidence that they feel pain at least by that point.
That is several weeks earlier than current Florida law, which only protects babies once they are considered “viable” – a standard that has changed dramatically over the years with advancements in medical technology. Unborn babies the same age as those being aborted are being treated for dozens of conditions today. Fetal surgeons can even correct or ameliorate conditions like spina bifida right in the womb – and they routinely use anesthesia so that their tiny patients don’t feel the pain.
By passing Pain-Capable legislation, Floridians have the chance to save hundreds of lives every year and prevent unimaginable suffering. It’s the compassionate thing to do. It would also bring Florida into line with 23 other states that have passed this law already, including surrounding states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, where it has a proven track record of success.
Modernizing state laws and stopping painful late-term abortions would be a step in the right direction – a victory for all Floridians that will keep the state excelling in ways that make everyone proud. We expect to face opposition from the abortion industry, which profits from all this pain, and their political allies. To learn more about how you can support pro-life lawmakers and participate in this effort, visit floridastandsforlife.com today.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. Carol Moore is a Florida resident and SBA List board member.