Democrats propose pre-birth child support, vasectomy restrictions in effort to combat abortion ban

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE 3/3/2022: The vote on the 15-week abortion ban came down 25-15 all along party lines with one Senator who did not vote.

Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Miami) did not cast a vote, although she spoke in support of the legislation during the debate.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

ORIGINAL STORY: New restrictions on vasectomies and child support starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy were just two of a dozen amendments Florida Democrats attempted to tag on to the 15-week abortion ban discussed on the floor of the Florida Senate Wednesday.

The 15-week abortion ban, which provides no exemptions for cases of rape and incest, is one vote away from heading to the governor’s desk.

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In a last-ditch effort, Democrats filed the slew of amendments.

One would have allowed for women to seek child support at 15 weeks into a pregnancy.

“We all know how babies are made and the men must take responsibility,” said amendment sponsor Senator Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton).

The amendment wasn’t adopted.

The eleven others, including a requirement for men to have two doctors sign off on a vasectomy and inform them the procedure will prevent the creation of future life, are also expected to be dead-on-arrival.

“I think these amendments highlight the hypocrisy of this abortion ban,” said Terry Sallas-Merritt with Woman’s Choice, a Jacksonville abortion clinic.

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Sallas-Merritt said the goal of the amendments was to flip the script.

“That’s what these amendments are pointing to. Please acknowledge that when you are passing a bill that says you have the right to step into someone’s life you know nothing about and make a very personal medical decision for them, this is what that’s like and this is wrong,” said Sallas-Merritt.

And while the outcome of the final vote is in little doubt at this point, Sallas-Merritt believes there will be blowback come November.

“I think people are going to start to acknowledge this is a bigger problem than they thought it to be and that there is a slippery slope to having more restrictions, not just on abortion, but perhaps on other of our rights that we consider to be sacred,” said Sallas-Merritt.

The Senate is set to take a final vote on the 15-week abortion ban Thursday.

If passed, it will head straight to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis.