On Thursday night, lawmakers in Florida voted to prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
According to Politico, “The measure prohibits women from receiving abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It provides no exceptions for victims of rape, incest or human trafficking. Existing Florida law restricts abortions after 24 weeks.”
The legislation is headed to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law. It is anticipated to take effect on July 1.
The bill, H.B. 5, allows for abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy if “[t]he fetus has not achieved viability … and two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgement, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality.” It also allows exceptions for the life of the mother, as well, or if it is to “avert a serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition.”
The action is the most recent effort for many Republican legislatures to move towards limiting abortion and enacting pro-life measures as the fate of Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court abortion-related decisions are in the hands of the high court.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments late last year on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case out of Mississippi over a law there that doesn’t allow abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The high court could choose to uphold the Mississippi law, cutting away at the precedent established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. The Justices could also decide to overturn Roe entirely or to strike down the law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the decisions regarding abortion would be returned to the states rather than made legal on a broad scale across the country.
Arizona and West Virginia are also reportedly looking at pro-life measures that are similar to the 15-week ban.
The sponsor of the Florida bill was state Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), who thanked God through tears.
“I never dreamed I’d be standing here today, but actually being able to save the life of babies,” Stargel said. “God is so good.”
She also addressed senators who are parents, as well, including Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book who has two small children. Book had discussed her experience being gang-raped as a teenager as she asked Republicans to include exemptions.
“Those of you who have children try to convince us,” Stargel said. “You saw that sonogram, you saw that baby the moment you found out you were pregnant or your wife was pregnant, it was a baby.”
Prior to the Thursday vote, Book said, “It became clear, no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, there will be no exemptions for rape or incest or human trafficking,” adding, “Even if they just needed more time.”
“We may not win this battle, but the women of Florida are not done with this fight,” Book also said. “This is the beginning, not the end.”
As The Daily Wire reported on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers in Florida “submitted 13 amendments this week to the 15-week abortion ban, HB 5, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, which passed the statehouse in February and is expected to pass the state Senate Thursday.”
“The governor supports pro-life legislation and is not responding to outcry from pro-abortion activists,” Governor Ron DeSantis’s spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told The Daily Wire Thursday. “The bottom line is that they’re demanding abortion after 15 weeks, which is when the fetus can already feel pain and is near viability; babies born as early as 20 weeks have survived.”