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President Office — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2016

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229


Senate Advances Legislation to Improve Medical Standards at Abortion Clinics

Legislation enhances protections governing fetal remains, ensures availability of advanced medical treatment for mothers

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, chaired by Senator Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) today passed Senate Bill (SB) 1722, Termination of Pregnancies, by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland). The legislation increases state oversight of abortion facilities to ensure clinics and the practitioners who perform abortion procedures are held to the same medical standards as other facilities where outpatient surgery is performed.

“Abortion is a surgical procedure and complications that require additional medical care can occur. We need to make certain that vulnerable women entering abortion clinics have access to the advanced medical care hospitals provide,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando). “Transfer agreements and admitting privileges ensure that when complications occur, women can be immediately admitted to a hospital with the proper documentation regarding the health issue they are facing, so they can receive the treatment they need.”

The legislation more clearly defines the terms “gestation,” “first trimester,” “second trimester,” and “third trimester.” To align safety precautions governing abortion clinics with those of state regulated ambulatory surgery centers, clinics that perform second and third trimester abortions would be required to have a written patient transfer agreement with a hospital within reasonable proximity or all physicians who perform abortions in the clinic would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within reasonable proximity of the clinic.

SB 1722 extends the current prohibition against the sale and donation of fetal remains from an abortion by specifying limits on any disposal of fetal remains and increases penalties for the improper disposal. The legislation also restricts state agencies, local governmental entities, and Medicaid managed care plans from contracting with, or expending funds for the benefit of, an organization that owns, operates, or is affiliated with facilities that perform elective abortions.

Under the bill, Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) would also perform annual licensure inspections of abortion clinics, inspect at least 50 percent of abortion clinic records during a license inspection, and promptly investigate all credible allegations of unlicensed abortions being performed. Entities that refer women for abortion procedures would be required to register with AHCA. Additionally, AHCA would collect certain data from facilities in which abortions are performed and submit the data to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency would also submit an annual report to the Legislature summarizing regulatory actions taken as it relates to the oversight of facilities that perform abortions. 

For more information on SB 1722, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.

 

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