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Florida’s 15-week abortion ban enacted : NPR

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state’s new abortion ban. It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's 15-week abortion ban enacted : NPR

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state’s new abortion ban. It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, making Florida the latest state to restrict access to medical procedure.

The new law, which comes into force on July 1, will replace a previous one that allowed abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“House Bill 5 protects babies in the womb who have a beating heart, who can move, who can taste, who can see and who can feel pain,” DeSantis said in a statement Wednesday. “Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great bill which represents the most important protections for life in modern state history.”

The new 15-week ban does not make exceptions for cases of incest, rape or human trafficking. It authorizes an abortion if it saves a pregnant person’s life or serious injury.

The law also provides exceptions for fetal anomalies discovered after 15 weeks. In such cases, two doctors must sign off saying that the baby will die shortly after birth before an abortion can take place.

Groups including Planned Parenthood warn that marginalized communities, including Black and Latino residents, will have the added burden of traveling out of state for the procedure.

“We have entered a dangerous time for the reproductive freedom of Floridians. In just a few months, thousands of pregnant women in Florida will no longer be able to access the care they need without leaving their state,” said the President of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson. in a report. “Supporters of this bill have put their own political ambitions and beliefs ahead of the health and future of their constituents.”

A similar Mississippi law is before the Supreme Court.

Florida’s new law is modeled after another in Mississippi, which also bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This law is currently being considered by the Supreme Court, where the justices of the six-member conservative majority seem willing to uphold the law.

Continuing the Mississippi law would nullify or significantly reverse the protections that Roe vs. Wade guaranteed pregnant women.

Florida’s bill passed the State House in mid-February and then went to the state Senate. In both chambers, lawmakers from both parties shared their personal experiences with sexual assault and abortion and how it influenced their votes.

Lawmakers shared their own experiences during the Florida measure debate

During the House debate, Republican Representative Dana Trabulsy shared that she had already had an abortion and was “ashamed because I will never know the unborn child that I might have had.”

“It’s something I’ve regretted every day since,” Trabulsy said. “It’s the right to life and giving up life is unacceptable to me.”

In the Senate, Democrat Lauren Book pushed for an amendment to the bill that would have allowed exceptions for incest, rape or human trafficking. Book spoke about her own experience of sexual abuse and rape.

“It’s not right to force someone who has been sexually assaulted and pregnant to carry that pregnancy to term if they don’t want to, that’s just not the case,” she said. . “And if a woman or a girl needs more than 15 weeks to make up her mind, we should be able to give her that.”

Florida isn’t the only state to use Mississippi’s law as a model. Republican lawmakers in West Virginia and Arizona have proposed similar legislation ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Other Republican-led states are also considering and enforcing more restrictive abortion bans than Mississippi’s 15-week model. Last May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that effectively bans abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected or as early as six weeks. The Supreme Court has three times refused to take up the challenge of Texas abortion law.


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