Florida’s Six-Week Abortion Ban Is One Step Closer to Becoming Law

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By Giselle Balido

March 22, 2023

Earlier this week, after extended debate, proposed legislation to prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy began moving forward in the Florida Senate.

On Monday, the Senate Health Policy Committee approved the measure (SB 300) sponsored by Republican Sen. Erin Grall of Vero Beach. One Republican, Rep. Alex Calatayud (R-Miami) joined Democrats in voting against it after promising her constituents that she would defend Florida’s current 15-week ban.

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SB 300 seeks to ban abortion after six weeks, with exceptions for rape and incest up to 15 weeks. It also maintains exceptions that allow for abortions in the case of fatal fetal abnormalities, as well as risk of death or imminent, severe injury for the mother. The bill requires that abortion care be administered in person by a physician and would make it illegal to mail abortion-inducing medication.

Additionally, last week the House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee gave initial approval to a House version of the proposal (HB 7). Both bills were filed after the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a 15-week limit last year.

Arguments From Both Sides

Supporters describe SB 300 as a “heartbeat” bill because they say fetal heartbeats can be detected at about six weeks of pregnancy.  

“The point of this bill is that when we know life is present, we have an obligation to protect it, and that is the culture shift that I pray for because I believe that that is how we restore the mental health of our country,” Grall said.

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But a six-week limit would effectively ban abortion, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D-Plantation) said, citing that many women don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks. “Women’s lives are being put at risk,” Book said. “What are we doing?”

Several women emotionally told their own abortion stories as a way of sharing some of the reasons why a woman might seek that recourse. 

A Major Caveat

After seven abortion clinics and a physician filed a constitutional challenge to the 15-week limit, it must be decided whether the limit violates a privacy clause in the Florida Constitution that for more than three decades has protected abortion rights in the state. 

At this time, it is unclear when the court will rule on the challenge.

https://theamericanonews.com/floricua/newsletter/

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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