Senate Health Committee Passes Legislation to Enhance Standards At Abortion Clinics
By Space Coast Daily // February 2, 2016
enhances protections governing fetal remains
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy, chaired by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) 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 these procedures are held to the same medical standards as other facilities where outpatient surgery is performed.
“Women who enter an abortion clinic are in an extremely vulnerable situation and trusting that the facility and its practitioners are equipped to handle their medical care should complications occur,” said Senator Stargel.
“The procedure itself is akin to outpatient surgery, yet the same state oversight that governs our surgery centers and hospitals does not currently apply to abortion clinics. We need to make certain when a woman suffers complications following an abortion, she can be readily transferred to a hospital where she can receive the appropriate medical treatment.”
The legislation 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.
SB 1722 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 abortions.
Under the bill, the Agency for Health Care Administration (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 atrocities that have recently come to light in other states regarding the treatment of human remains carelessly discarded following abortion procedures, along with troubling allegations surrounding the sale of these body parts necessitates additional state oversight of facilities in which abortions take place,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando).
“We need to take the appropriate steps to make sure these horrific activities do not occur in Florida.”
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.
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 trimester abortions would be required to have a written patient transfer agreement with a hospital within reasonable proximity and all physicians who perform abortions in the clinic would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within reasonable proximity of the clinic.
Clinics that only perform first trimester abortions would be required to meet one of these two requirements.
SB 1722 requires AHCA to submit an annual report to the Legislature summarizing regulatory actions taken by the agency as it relates to the oversight of facilities that perform abortions.
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