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FL Abortion Bills Reflect Disputed Texas Law

Florida lawmakers during the 2016 session could consider abortion-related bills that are similar to a major issue in a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court case.

The Supreme Court late last week said it would hear arguments about a 2013 Texas law that, in part, would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the abortion clinics. Supporters say such requirements help ensure patient safety, while critics contend the requirements are designed to make it harder to provide abortions.

In Florida, state Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach, has filed a bill (HB 1) for the 2016 session that largely mirrors the admitting-privileges portion of the Texas law. Also, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, has filed a similar bill that would require abortion-clinic medical directors and doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals in Florida or patient-transfer agreements with hospitals within a 30-minute drive.

That is more-stringent than current law, which applies to clinic medical directors. That law says medical directors must have admitting privileges at hospitals or have transfer agreements with hospitals "within reasonable proximity" of the clinics.

The House and Senate bills are both called the "Women's Health Protection Act."