Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube has joined a push in Congress to end offshore abortion “tourism.”
Steube, a Sarasota Republican, signed on to a bill that would prohibit abortions being performed in waters off America’s coasts where they would be done under federal jurisdiction. Republican Rep. Randy Weber of Texas introduced the bill last week.
In a press release, Weber noted the case of Michael Kimbro, a New Yorker who in July 2022 created an abortion clinic roughly 40 minutes offshore from Galveston, Texas.
Weber noted that the “Abort Offshore” clinic, being floating in federal waters, bypassed Texas’ laws that ban abortions six weeks after conception.
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Kimbro, according to Weber, was charging cash payments of up to $2,000 per procedure, and was able to perform as many as 24 abortions a day. Wever noted that Kimbro is not a doctor, yet had the women in a location far from lifesaving services in case of a botched abortion.
In Florida, according to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, federal waters begin about 3.5 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and about 10 miles in the Atlantic Ocean.
Weber’s bill, named the Ban Offshore Abortion Tourism, or BOAT, Act, would impose a five-year prison sentence on people who perform such abortions.
In a statement, Weber said, “Abortion boats should never float in federal waters. These offshore ‘clinics’ exploit a legal loophole by performing abortions in maritime jurisdiction to evade state laws and endanger both women and the unborn.
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“This practice is morally and ethically reprehensible. As the Left pushes radical and unsafe workarounds, I will continue to fight for women’s safety and protect the sanctity of life. It’s our responsibility to stand against such practices and provide proper legal protection for both the vulnerable women and the unborn.”
The measure creates exemptions for cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. The women themselves would not be punished for the abortion under Weber’s bill.
Steube is one of 10 GOP co-sponsors, and the only one from Florida so far.
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