Pro-life groups in Florida said Wednesday was a "day of shame" after a bill that would have required abortion practitioners to give women ultrasounds during all phases of pregnancy prior to an abortion died in a 20-20 tie vote in the Senate.
In a statement, Adam Goldman, vice-president for Legislative Affairs at the Florida Right to Life, said legislators had squandered an opportunity to provide women with the right to make informed decisions that would favor life, referring to studies that reveal how most women pursue alternatives to abortion when given an ultrasound and informed of the life of the fetus.
"Women have the right to know the development of their unborn child before an abortion clinic terminates that life. Ultrasound exams are the best means toward that end....Florida Right to Life continues to look forward to the day when children have full equality and human rights," Goldman stated.
"History will condemn the actions of these 20 senators, just as it has condemned their predecessors for upholding Jim Crow laws in our state for decades until the civil rights movement shamed them into action," he added
Although the measure passed handily in the House, the bill failed to pass through the Republican majority Senate after seven Republican lawmakers deserted their party to vote with Democrats against a bill that they said would be an "invasion of privacy."
"Personally, I believe this is blatant government interference and it's insulting to women who should be the ones responsible for making decisions with their lives and their bodies," said Democratic Senator Nancy Rich in her summary criticism of the bill, according to The Florida Baptist Witness.
Backers of the bill proved unsuccessful to gather support for a bill that they argued was common sense.
"This bill is a pro-choice bill. It gives the women the choice for informed consent so that she can choose whether to see that ultrasound or not…. This empowers the woman to make her own health decisions," said Republican Senator Ronda Storms, according to The Florida Baptist Witness
Storms added that it was ridiculous to say that the bill represented a borderline "invasion of privacy."
"What is it that we might be afraid of? ... Oh, I don't know, could it be that in the ultrasound that she might see the baby, the unborn, putting his thumb to his mouth and sucking his thumb before she has the abortion? Could that be what we're afraid of – so we think she won't have it? When is it good for her to see that, after she's had one or two abortions?" she added.
Currently, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are the only states that require abortion clinics to give out ultrasounds prior to any abortion.
According to the most recent figures by the Florida State Health Department, there are an estimated 96,000 abortions annually throughout the state.