Both sides weigh in on looming proposal that would shorten abortion window in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — With a Republican supermajority, a proposal that would shorten the window for legal abortions in Florida from 15 weeks to six weeks is likely to pass.


There are exceptions in situations such as rape and incest. However, critics are concerned about what would be required to prove them.

The measure would require a variety of police and medical records, which some say a lot of victims just don’t have.

Advocates, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, said the bill is a step in the right direction. However, critics said it will only create confusion and barriers for people who need care.

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“This will increase barriers to care and continue to cause confusion,” said Sylvia Ghazarian, executive director of the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, an organization that works directly with clinics, doctors and hospitals on behalf of patients to fund abortions and emergency contraception all across the U.S.

Channel 9 posed questions to them tonight, like if a six-week abortion ban would give women little to no time to make decisions, and whether or not women know they’re pregnant by six weeks.

“We will see a lot of people who will have to go through a pregnancy that they don’t want, and that is detrimental not only to them (but) their families, their health,” Ghazarian said. “Any sort of ban, whether it’s six weeks, whatever it is, is going to cause detrimental effects.”

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On the opposing side, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, said this is a step in the right direction.

“I don’t think that changes at all our view that when a heartbeat is present, there is certainly life there,” she said. “And the act of abortion after six weeks we know ends the beating heart of another human being.”

As for if this could be a major barrier to critical services for women in Florida, Hawkins said, “How do you define critical services? I don’t think ending the life of a unique human being is a critical service.”

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“Committing an act of violence against someone weaker and smaller than yourself simply because they’re inconvenient to you is not a critical service,” Hawkins added.

Along with the six-week ban, this would require abortion medication to be prescribed in person only and bans the shipping of the medication.

“Telehealth has been an important and essential part of care for many patients,” Ghazarian said. “In fact, over 66% of the patients we funded were able to use the abortion pill.”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.