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Webster Barnaby
BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN Rep. Webster Barnaby speaking at the opening of a new HVAC program at Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, July 28.

Bill is similar to Texas legislation restricting abortion

Deltona’s representative in the Florida Legislature, Webster Barnaby, has filed a Texas-style abortion ban for the legislature’s 2022 session. 

The bill would ban abortions once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected. House Bill 167, or the “Florida Heartbeat Act,” was filed by Barnaby today, Sept. 22.

Barnaby, a Republican, represents District 27, which covers Southwest Volusia, including DeBary, Deltona and Lake Helen. His bill would punish anyone who “performs or induces” an abortion on a fetus with a detectable fetal heartbeat. The abortion would be a civil offense punishable by a fine of a minimum of $10,000 for each abortion performed or induced.

As with the Texas law, citizens, as well as governmental officials, may bring action against abortion providers.

On Oct. 1, a federal judge is scheduled to consider a temporary ban on the newly passed Texas abortion legislation, according to the Texas Tribune

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as soon as 6 to 7 weeks after conception with the use of an ultrasound, according to one Volusia County midwife.

Abortions performed after 6 weeks would still be permissable if the procedure is deemed “medically necessary” to save the life of the pregnant woman, or if the fetus was conceived through rape or incest.

The bill would require doctors to test for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion.

“The physician who is to perform or induce the abortion must also conduct a test for the presence of a fetal heartbeat and inform the woman in writing of the statistical probability of bringing the unborn child to term to the best of the physician’s knowledge, based on the gestational age of the unborn child, or as prescribed by rule,” the bill states.

HB 167 was filed today around 9 a.m. today. Barnaby is the only sponsor. It is the third bill Barnaby has sponsored for the upcoming session of the Florida Legislature, which begins Jan. 11, 2022.

Barnaby’s other bills would classify fetal alcohol syndrome as a developmental disability (HB 93), and increase the punishments for animal cruelty.

The Beacon was not able to reach Barnaby for comment.

If signed into law, the anti-abortion bill would take effect July 1, 2022.

The full text of the bill as submitted to the Florida House of Representatives is available to read HERE.

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