Manatee County commissioners seeking advice from attorney general on abortion ban proposal

Manatee County Commissioners sending abortion letter to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.
Manatee County Commissioners sending abortion letter to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.(WWSB)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:55 PM EDT
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - In a sometimes contentious hearing Tuesday night, the Manatee County Commission voted to ask the state attorney general if a local ban on abortions would hold up in court.

“It’s to get information, there is nothing wrong with that,” said commission Chair Vanessa Baugh. “If you truly are pro-life, how can you resist a letter going to get information?”

A letter for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody was written by Commissioner James Satcher, asking if the county is preempted under Florida law from adopting an ordinance regulating abortion and providing a safe haven for the unborn.

That letter will head to Moody after commissioners voted 4-3 in favor seeking the state’s opinion. Commissioners Carol Whitmore, Misty Servia and Reggie Bellamy voted against sending the letter.

Abortion-rights advocates who were protesting outside say what the commission is trying to do is wrong. “What this does is put the foot on the neck of a lot of women,” said Katie Benoit, a Bradenton mom.

Benoit says she had to terminate a pregnancy after it was discovered that her baby had genetic abnormalities not viable for life. So many are thankful that options like this are available.

“This is something that really hits close to home to me,” said Benoit. “Because I’m afraid that under a ban that women like me and rape victims, incest victims, and women, in general, won’t be able to get the help they need.”

Others who testified at the hearing disagreed. “Human life begins at conception, that is the only objective point for which a human being originates,” said one anti-abortion advocate. “It is the only point at which there was not a human being and a few moments later there is.”

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