Florida Bans Most Abortions After 6 Weeks
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a bill that bans abortions in that state after six weeks, with exemptions only given up to 15 weeks for rape, incest and the life and health of the pregnant woman.
The new law will impact women in the state, as well as those in the region where many have traveled to Florida to access abortions when they've been unable to do so in their own states, NBC News reported.
“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
DeSantis had previously signed a 15-week abortion ban last year. That ban is now before the Florida Supreme Court, which means the latest ban is also on hold until the court rules on the earlier ban.
All Republicans in the Florida Senate voted for the law, with the exception of two freshmen lawmakers in swing seat areas, NBC News reported.
“I am not supporting this bill today, but I believe it will pass and it will become the law of this state,” said Republican state Sen. Alexis Calatayud, whose Miami-based seat Joe Biden won with 54% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election. “And I believe it will go a long way to help change the hearts and minds influenced by a decade of anti-life culture.”
Florida has seen an increase in abortions ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and abortions have been restricted in nearby states, NBC News reported. Women seeking abortions increased from 3,988 in 2020 to 6,708 in 2022, according to the state's Agency for Health Care Administration.
Signing the law came with little fanfare, NBC News reported, possibly because abortion politics are challenging for Republicans.
The White House had earlier noted the proposed six-week ban.
“The President and Vice President believe women should be able to make health care decisions with their doctors and families -- free from political interference,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement when the bill was filed in March, NBC News reported. “They are committed to protecting access to reproductive care, and continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law.”
The nonprofit KFF has more on abortion bans in the United States.
SOURCE: NBC News