Florida Republicans Pass 6-Week Abortion Ban

DeSantis has said he supports the change
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2023 6:20 PM CDT
6-Week Abortion Ban Goes to DeSantis
Activists protest anti-abortion legislation in Tallahassee, Florida, on April 3.   (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)

The Republican-dominated Florida Legislature on Thursday approved a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a proposal supported by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida currently prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. A six-week ban would give DeSantis a political victory among Republican primary voters before officially launching a presidential candidacy built on his national brand as a conservative standard bearer. The policy would also have wider implications for abortion access throughout the South in the wake of the US Supreme Court's decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving decisions about abortion access to states, the AP reports.

Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, while Georgia prohibits the procedure after cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks. "We have the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose," said Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who carried the bill in the House. Democrats and abortion-rights groups have criticized Florida's proposal as extreme. "This ban would prevent 4 million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks—before many women even know they're pregnant," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The bill contains some exceptions, including to save the woman's life. Abortions for pregnancies involving rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of pregnancy, provided a woman has documentation such as a restraining order or police report. DeSantis has called the rape and incest provisions sensible. Drugs used in medication-induced abortions—which make up the majority of those provided nationally—could be dispensed only in person or by a physician under the Florida bill. Florida's six-week ban would take effect only if the state's current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.

(More anti-abortion laws stories.)

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