March 4, 2022 -- Florida lawmakers approved the strictest abortion ban in the state’s history on Thursday, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to Politico.

The bill, HB 5, will now go to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

The new legislation provides no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. The existing Florida law restricts access to abortions after 24 weeks.

Other states across the country, including Arizona and West Virginia, are considering bills that prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, Politico reported, modeled after Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. On Thursday, the Idaho Senate approved an abortion ban modeled after the six-week abortion ban in Texas.

Florida’s bill was modeled after Mississippi’s law, Politico reported, although lawmakers considered putting forward a proposal similar to the Texas law that allows people to sue abortion providers.

The U.S. Supreme Court is now weighing both the Texas and Mississippi abortion laws. When the court heard oral arguments in the case against Mississippi’s ban in December, conservative justices seemed willing to uphold the law, which could erode protections under Roe v. Wade, according to The Washington Post. The court is expected to rule on the Mississippi case during the summer.

In Florida, Thursday’s vote came amidst a heated debate and ended a months-long fight among activists and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. People spoke about the core arguments around abortion, including when a fetus becomes a life and whether exceptions should be included for rape, incest, and human trafficking.

Florida Democrats failed to convince Republicans to add the exemptions, Politico reported. But the bill provides exceptions if the mother’s life in danger or the fetus has fatal abnormalities diagnosed by two doctors.

Florida’s bill is one of more than 20 abortion bans that have been introduced across the country this year, The Washington Post reported.

Show Sources

Politico: “Florida lawmakers approve strictest abortion ban in state’s history.”

Florida Senate: “CS/HB 5: Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality.”

The Washington Post: “Florida Senate passes a Republican bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks.”

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