Tuesday, Florida lawmakers filed a new bill that would ban abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
On the first day of the Florida’s yearly legislative session, Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Erin Grall filed the new legislation, the Associated Press reported.
The two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 146 and House Bill 5, would ban physicians from aborting babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The two exceptions to this ban are if the mother’s health is at risk or if there is a “fatal fetal abnormality,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
These two bills would also require abortion providers to document the number of pregnancies they end by medication, and they must submit that number to the Agency for Health Care Administration every month.
Upon the bill’s introduction, Governor Ron DeSantis quickly voiced his support for it. While he did not formally endorse it, DeSantis said that pro-life legislation was welcome, Business Insider reported.
“There’s a lot of pro-life legislation. We’re going to be welcoming it. I haven’t looked at every single bill,” he said, according to the AP.
“I think if you look at what’s been done in some of these other states. I mean, when you start talking about 15 weeks where you have really serious pain and heartbeats and all this stuff, having protections, I think, is something that makes a lot of sense,” DeSantis added.
The legislation has the endorsement of the state House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, Fox News reported.
Sprowls said that Florida Republicans are “steadfast in our commitment to Florida’s children, both born and unborn,” the AP reported.
“I think it’s a very good start, and I think it’s something the committee process will vet out and perhaps be on the floor at some point,” Simpson said, according to Fox. “I’ve been pro-life all of my life.”
Florida’s new legislation comes after the Supreme Court’s hearing in December on Mississippi’s bid to reinstate its 15 week abortion ban. The court is expected to rule in the spring, and that could set precedent for many abortion cases and legislation throughout the nation this year.
“The bill, introduced on the first day of the Florida legislature’s 2022 session, sets the stage for a battle over abortion access expected to play out in courts and state capitols this year as the United States Supreme Court weighs a case that could overhaul abortion rights,” NBC News reported.
While Florida’s proposed legislation is not as restrictive on abortion as Texas’ law, which bans abortions as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, it would violate the Roe v. Wade precedent, which gave women the choice to terminate their pregnancy up to 24 weeks.
According to the 1973 precedent of Roe v. Wade, abortion is legal until the fetus becomes viable, which is estimated to be around 24 weeks, the Washington Post reported.
Many would then consider Florida’s ban to be “pre-viability.”
But if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi in the spring, which also sets its ban at 15 weeks or “pre-viability,” that could encourage legislation similar to Florida’s all over the nation.
“If the court rules in Mississippi’s favor, it will pave the way for states like Florida to successfully defend their pre-viability bans on abortion in court,” NBC News reported.
Stargel, who introduced one of the bills in Florida, did point out that this would still allow abortion to be legal and would not entirely strip women of that choice; it would just make women decide earlier in their pregnancy.
“I think we took a very measured approach to make sure that women who want to make that choice, they can do that.” Stargel said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “They just have to do it very early in their pregnancy.”
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