TALLAHASSEE, FL — One of several controversial anti-abortion bills in the Florida Legislature this year would ban abortions at 20 weeks. As lawmakers attempted to exclude testimony on the bill this week, abortion-rights advocates including the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, created a virtual testimony event called “mics on, bans off” for women to tell their stories about their abortions later in pregnancy.
Hadleigh Tweedall of Tennessee lost her daughter at 18 and a half weeks due to fetal anomalies. A similar law forced her to go out of state to get an abortion after her doctors warned her of the risks of carrying to term.
“If she dies and your body doesn’t respond, there is a pretty big increased risk of hemorrhaging, of infections, you know of all the complications that could go wrong with your body not knowing that a baby is no longer living inside of you,” Tweedall explained.
Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, and Rep Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, said they have an obligation to the unborn. Abortion-rights advocates countered it’s important to hear from people who’ve been through these experiences and argued banning abortion during a pandemic is wrong.
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Tweedall said her family was very fortunate they were able to get early, non-invasive blood work that alerted them of the anomalies with her unborn daughter.
“Most women don’t get their high-risk ultrasound until 20-23 weeks,” Tweedall observed. “You know, you have your first ones to recognize the heartbeat and your next ultrasound with your doctor is around 20-23 weeks.”
Planned Parenthood pointed out medical groups such as The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose the 20-week abortion ban, saying the proposals “are not based on sound science and attempt to prescribe how physicians should care for their patients.”
The various bills will be heard in committee during committee weeks, then full debate is expected during the legislative session, which begins in March.