TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (SNN TV) — The Florida Senate is on the way to passing a bill that critics say would establish “fetal personhood” in civil liability cases.

SB 476 would give parents the ability to sue for damages for the wrongful death of an unborn child, according to the Herald-Tribune.

The bill defines “unborn child” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”

The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Erin Grall (R-Fort Pierce), argued it created “parity,” as the definition for “unborn child” is also used in Florida law for criminal penalties.

But Democrats and critics of the bill argued it’s a roundabout way of creating fetal personhood, a belief that a fetus should be recognized as a legal and moral person with rights, often including the right to life, from the moment of conception.

Grall has been behind many anti-abortion measures during her tenure in the Legislature and was at the forefront of last year’s “Heartbeat Protection Bill,” which banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That law currently is on hold pending a related legal challenge.

Grall said this bill is different as abortion providers can’t be sued for providing lawful abortions.

The Florida National Organization for Women (NOW) sent SNN a release strongly condemning the bill. They argued if the bill became law, it could impact access to certain forms of contraception and fertility treatments and could also have major implications for pregnant people.

They also argue that “if a fetus is legally considered a person, child endangerment laws could apply, potentially leading to intrusive measures such as state-mandated diets or compelled cesarean sections against a person’s wishes.”

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