On Friday, March 25, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that will tighten restrictions on abortion clinics and defund Planned Parenthood in Florida.
The bill, HB 1411, redefines gestation and pregnancy trimesters; according to the bill, the first trimester is defined as “the period of time from fertilization through the end of the 11th week of gestation” and the second trimester “is the period of time from the beginning of the 12th week of gestation through the end of the 23rd week of gestation.” The third trimester “is the period of time from the beginning of the 24th week of gestation through birth.”
The bill also requires clinics that perform abortions to have a written patient transfer agreement with a hospital in close proximity to the clinic. Physicians who perform abortions at the clinic must have “admitting privileges at a hospital within reasonable proximity to the clinic.” It also bans the sale and donation of fetal remains from abortions and increases the penalties for the improper disposal of fetal remains.
The bill also prevents government agencies of Florida from working with any organization that provides abortion, which cuts most of the state funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill would likely close six of Florida's 65 abortion clinics, according to Senate sponsor Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland).
As a result of the governor's approval, Florida became the 12th state to cut or greatly reduce funding for Planned Parenthood along with Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
The bill will go into effect July 1.