Florida Senate To Vote On Six-Week Abortion Ban

The Florida Senate is preparing to vote on a bill that would ban abortions at six weeks after the legislation cleared its final committee stage. SB 300 seeks to reduce the current 15-week limit to six weeks, with limited exceptions. These include cases of pregnancy due to unlawful intercourse by assault or incest, situations where the mother’s life is at risk, or a fatal fetal abnormality in pregnancy not yet in its third trimester.

The bill stipulates that in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, two physicians must certify in writing that, based on reasonable medical judgment, the termination is necessary to save the woman’s life or avert a serious risk of significant and irreversible physical impairment to a major bodily function, excluding psychological conditions. Furthermore, the legislation mandates doctors to report cases of minors subjected to unlawful assault or incest to the central hotline.

Additionally, the bill prohibits telehealth for performing abortions and restricts the procedure to physicians only. Violators of these requirements would face a third-degree felony charge. Anyone responsible for the death of a woman due to a non-compliant abortion would face a second-degree felony charge.

Florida’s lawmakers are divided on the issue, with state Sen. Erin Grall (R) asking, “Does Florida want to promote a culture of life — where all life is important?” State Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D) countered by stating that the bill is “taking away free will” and “choice.”
The Florida House is concurrently working on passing its version of the legislation, HB 7, which still needs to clear the final committee stage before a full House vote.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has indicated his willingness to sign additional pro-life legislation, having signed a 15-week abortion ban into law in April 2022.

In July 2022, following a Florida judge’s temporary block of the state’s 15-week abortion ban, Gov. DeSantis stated that allowing “dismemberment abortions” was not the proper interpretation of the state constitution. He disagreed that the state constitution mandates such procedures and announced plans to appeal the decision. The governor reiterated his commitment to defending “those that can’t defend themselves.”

Months after the 15-week abortion ban was signed into law, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, returning decisions on abortion to individual states. When asked about his pro-life stance then, DeSantis said, “We’re for pro-life.” He encouraged the legislature to “produce good stuff” and assured them he would sign it, as it is “what I’ve always wanted to do.”

The proposed six-week abortion ban in Florida promotes a culture of life while providing certain exceptions. The legislation’s ultimate fate will significantly impact Floridians and the ongoing national conversation on abortion rights.