TALLAHASSEE – A new bill introduced by state legislators in Tallahassee would outlaw the termination of pregnancies after six weeks from conception. It would tighten an already-passed 15-week abortion ban. The bill would only become law if ruled legal by the Florida Supreme Court, which is currently about to rule on the legality of the 15-week ban. There are some exceptions that would be outlined in the bill, such as:
- Abortions which are necessary to save the life of the mother.
- Abortions which prevent significant physical harm to the mother.
- When the fetus is judged to have a fatal abnormality, and the procedure occurs prior to the third trimester of pregnancy.
- The pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, before the 15-week mark. A police report, medical record, restraining order, or ‘other court order or documentation’ would have to be provided to prove the circumstances.
The first three exceptions would have to be attested to by two physicians in writing under the bill. Those found performing abortions outside these parameters would be charged with a third degree felony, or a second degree felony in the event of the mother’s death.
Governor Ron DeSantis praised the listed exceptions as ‘sensible’ when asked on Tuesday. He and the Republican lawmakers behind the bill were quickly condemned by pro-choice activists and politicians, and praised by many on the pro-life side of the issue.
According to the group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), only one in three women know they’re pregnant six weeks into the pregnancy. The CDC states that approximately 4% of all abortions occur after 15 weeks.
The bill, titled ‘Pregnancy and Parenting Support’ (or SB 300), was filed on Tuesday by State Senator Erin Grall, a Republican representing all or parts of Indian River, Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades, and St. Lucie counties in Southeast Florida. A comparable version, HB-7, was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives by Jenna Persons-Mulicka, a Republican from Fort Myers.
On the national scale, Florida is one of a number of Republican-led states tightening their abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.