Florida Senate passes 15-week abortion ban

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate Thursday evening passed House Bill 5, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks.

The bill also clarifies the term “gestation” to provide a more commonly understood and medically acceptable measurement of development, and expands programs to reduce fetal and infant deaths, according to a news release.

“We have a duty to protect life. This bill safeguards innocent, unborn children with beating hearts, who can move, taste, see, and feel pain,” said Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland). “In the half century since the Roe v. Wade decision, science has shown us that an unborn baby rapidly develops the functions and form of a child long before viability. I am grateful to my Senate colleagues for their support and look forward to seeing this pro-life legislation signed into law by Governor DeSantis.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani issued the following statement in response to the bill:

“HB5/SB146 is one of the most extreme anti-abortion and anti-freedom bills to ever pass the Florida Legislature. It is a direct assault on the people of Florida and our constitutional rights.

Let me be clear: there is no such thing as a reasonable abortion ban. Nothing in this ban is moderate, it is extreme. And despite impassioned pleas by Democrats to pass amendments that would provide exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking none were accepted by the Republican majority. The only exceptions that do exist in the bill are very narrow, and needs to be verified by two doctors, creating an unnecessary and undue burden to an already restrictive bill.

This is a sad day for reproductive rights in Florida, but our fight is not over. Floridians overwhelmingly support abortion access and believe that decisions around someone’s pregnancy should be private and exist without governmental intrusion. We urge the Governor to veto this bill, and will make sure voters know who was on their side come November.”

Commissioner Nikki Fried issued the following statement:

“Today is a dark day for women in Florida. This extreme abortion ban is not only cruel, immoral, and inhumane – it violates both the Florida and the U.S. constitutions. It’s an insult to the dignity of women and our ability to make decisions about our own lives. It will punish women and girls who have endured traumas that the privileged white men who pushed this bill could never even imagine, and every single member who voted for it should be ashamed.

“I want every woman who feels scared or outraged about this bill to know that you are not alone. To every woman who has ever told her story and felt like no one was listening: I promise you that I am. For every survivor of rape, sexual assault, and human trafficking: we will keep fighting for you. I wish that the state that we love was better for all of us. We will stand on the shoulders of our mothers and grandmothers who have been fighting for our rights for generations and use the love we have for our sisters, daughters, and friends to give us the strength to continue this fight for as long as it takes.”

Read our earlier story below:

The Florida Senate is expected to pass a bill banning all abortions after 15 weeks.

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The bill is identical to one passed by the Florida House two weeks ago.

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If passed by the Senate, it would then be up to Governor Ron DeSantis to sign it into law, which he has indicated he will do.

The bill includes no exceptions for rape or incest.

However, there is an exception for the life of the mother that requires two doctors to certify that her life is in fact in danger.

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Sponsors of the bill said they chose the 15-week threshold because it’s the same time frame as an abortion ban passed by the state of Mississippi. That ban is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is yet to hand down a ruling.

Florida physicians, on the other hand, say determining 15-weeks is not an exact science, and can vary from patient to patient.

“It is not uncommon to encounter a patient that has irregular periods and may not know they are pregnant until they are past 16 weeks of gestation,’ Gynecologist Dr. Cecilia Grande said.

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The Florida Senate is scheduled to take up the bill Thursday night. If signed into law by Governor DeSantis, it would go into effect on July 1.

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