Florida set to limit abortions as Supreme Court mulls Roe – The Journal

Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign a 15-week abortion ban after the Florida legislature joins the trend of Republican-led states anticipating a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could significantly limit abortion rights in america

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he would sign a 15-week abortion ban after the Florida legislature joined a trend of Republican-led states anticipating a decision by the United States Supreme Court that could severely limit abortion rights in America.

DeSantis, a Republican, told reporters at a press conference in Jacksonville that “I think we’ll be able to sign this off shortly,” a day after the GOP-controlled State House approved the project. bill following a series of emotional debates that often veered into painful and personal stories.

Republicans across the country are set to replicate a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that the Supreme Court appears poised to uphold this summer. If the court weakens or strikes down Roe v. Wade, Florida might be less of a destination for women from the South whose states have more restrictive abortion laws.

“Access to care in the South is decimated,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, adding that the passage of the bill signals that “your right to bodily autonomy depends on where you live”.

The state currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions thereafter for victims of rape or incest, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Florida’s bill contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life or prevent serious injury to the mother, or if the fetus has a life-threatening abnormality confirmed by two doctors. It would enter into force on July 1, 2022.

The legislation’s passage caught the attention of the White House, with Democratic President Joe Biden responding in a tweet saying “My administration will not tolerate the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights.”

Republicans rejected several attempts by Democrats to add exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. Proponents said it was not a total ban and that they still allowed enough time for women to consider having an abortion. They also called it reasonably limited, saying state statistics show that only 6% of abortions in Florida last year occurred after the first trimester or after the 11th week. Of these, 17 women and girls had been impregnated by rape or incest.

“The only thing we’re asking in this bill is that whatever decision you make, you make it before the 15 weeks,” Republican Senator Ileana Garcia said.

Some lawmakers revealed their own abortions and sexual assault experiences as the measure moved through the GOP-controlled statehouse.

Senator Lauren Book, a Democrat who turned the pain of being sexually abused by her nanny into a career helping other survivors, tearfully revealed she was also drugged and raped by multiple men when was a young teenager. She implored senators to allow exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.

“It’s not okay to force someone who was sexually assaulted and pregnant to carry that pregnancy to term if they don’t want to either, that’s just not the case,” Book said. “And if a woman or a girl needs more than 15 weeks to make up her mind, we should be able to give her that.”

When the bill passed the GOP-controlled House last month, Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy told lawmakers she had already had the miscarriage but “regretted it every day since.”

“It’s the right to life and giving up life is unacceptable to me,” she said.

GOP lawmakers in West Virginia and Arizona introduced 15-week abortion bans similar to Mississippi’s law. Republicans in other states have modeled their legislation on a Texas law, which the Supreme Court has allowed to stand pending appeals, that effectively bans abortions after six weeks.

On Thursday, White House officials hosted a roundtable with abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers on Florida’s bill as well as Republican restrictions in other states, expressing their commitment to ” explore all options to protect reproductive health care”.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

FILE – Participants wave signs as they walk back to Orlando City Hall during the Abortion Access March on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Abortions after 15 weeks would be banned in Florida under a proposal that Republican senators gave final passage and sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his expected signature. The GOP-controlled Senate passed the bill Thursday, March 3, 2022. (Chasity Maynard/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

FILE – Democratic Senator Lauren Book speaks in support of her amendment to SB 146, an abortion bill in the Florida Senate, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Abortions after 15 weeks would be banned in Florida under a proposal Republican senators sent to Governor Ron DeSantis. The GOP-controlled Senate gave final passage to the bill on Thursday, March 3, 2022. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, File)

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