Florida lawmakers are pushing forward a proposal that would enable women who are injured or feel emotional distress after an abortion to sue their doctors for up to a decade after the procedure, the Miami Herald reports.
The bill, which was approved by a House subcommittee on Thursday, was sponsored by Republican Rep. Erin Grall. Grall said the legislation is focused on helping women whose doctors are negligent or don’t obtain their informed consent before performing the procedure. Florida law currently requires written informed consent of the patient, which includes telling the women about the probable gestational age of the fetus and the health risks associated with terminating a pregnancy.
The state’s current medical malpractice laws only allow patients to sue two years after discovering injury from a procedure. “Because of the stigma associated with the procedure in our society, sometimes women are not as willing to speak out, which would make it difficult for them to decide to do that within the two-year period,” Grall told the Herald. “It’s a timing issue.”
According to the Herald, abortion rights advocates say that the legislation would limit abortion access in the state because it would require doctors to pay for extra liability insurance to cover the extended window. Kimberly Diaz, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance for Planned Parenthood affiliates, told the Herald that the organization supports a woman’s right to sue their doctors if they are injured during the procedure. But she believes that Florida’s current medical malpractice laws are adequate.