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Florida Abortion Laws

Florida's abortion laws are, generally speaking, more restrictive than those in many other states. In 2013, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law requiring that doctors performing an abortion offer emergency medical care if the baby is somehow born alive.

A violation of the law is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. Healthcare practitioners, as well as employees of hospitals, physicians’ offices and abortion clinics, must report all known violations to the Department of Health. The new law addresses cases when a failed abortion could result in a live birth in either a late-term abortion — which can be performed only if two physicians say the mother’s life is in danger — or if a mother was further along in her pregnancy than estimated.

The table below lists the basic provisions of Florida's abortion laws. See Abortion Laws and Abortion Rights FAQs to learn more.

Code Section 390.011, et seq.; 797.02; 797.03
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion Termination of pregnancy during last trimester which does not meet requirements of legal abortion. Partial Birth Abortion: Prohibited except when necessary to save the life of the mother when her life is physically endangered and no other medical procedure would suffice for that purpose
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion Regulated only in last trimester, necessary to save life or preserve health of mother and requires 2 physicians' certifications of medical necessity unless one physician certifies need for emergency medical abortion and no 2nd physician available
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Third degree felony; imprisonment to 5 yrs. or 2nd degree misdemeanor; up to 60 days imprisonment for performing abortion in unlawful place; Fines: 3rd degree felony, up to $5,000; 2nd degree misdemeanor, up to $500
Consent Requirements Voluntary written consent of mother or of the court-appointed guardian of a mentally incompetent woman, except in a medical emergency [§390.01115 held unconstitutional in North Florida Women's Health and Counseling Services, Inc. v. State, 2003 WL 21546546 (Fla. July 10, 2003)]
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements Validly licensed hospital, or medical facility; third trimester only in hospital

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Florida health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources for Florida Abortion Laws:

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