By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – After an often emotional debate, the Florida House on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would prevent doctors from performing abortions that women seek because of tests showing that fetuses will have disabilities.

The Republican-controlled House voted 74-44, largely along party lines, to approve the bill (HB 1221), sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. The bill addresses what it describes as “disability abortions,” which would involve situations in which physicians know pregnant women are seeking abortions because fetuses will have disabilities.

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Such disabilities could include such things as physical disabilities, intellectual or mental disabilities or Down syndrome. With one week in the legislative session, the Senate has not moved forward with such a bill — making it unlikely that a measure will ultimately pass. But Grall’s bill drew heavy debate, “We have a duty to protect innocent life,” said Rep. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republcian who supported the bill.

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But Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, said the bill was about banning abortions. “A ban is a ban is a ban is a ban. Abortion is health care, abortion is health care, abortion is health care,” she said.

Republicans Mike Caruso of Delray Beach, Sam Killebrew of Winter Haven and Rene Plasencia of Orlando joined Democrats in opposing the bill. Miami Democrat James Bush voted for it.

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