Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives on Thursday morning approved a 15-week abortion ban, working to tighten access to the procedure ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could limit rights to abortion in America.
The GOP-controlled House passed the 15-week abortion ban after several hours of debate between Democrats who said the measure would place an unnecessary burden on women and Republicans who said they were protecting the unborn child.
“It’s the right to life and giving up life is unconscionable for me,” said Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy, who revealed she once had an abortion but “regrets it every day since.”
Republicans in several state legislatures set to impose new abortion restrictions after the US Supreme Court announced it would uphold a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks and may overturn the point landmark Roe vs. Wade decision. A decision in this case is expected later this year.
GOP lawmakers in Arizona and West Virginia this week advanced their own 15-week abortion bans, and Republicans in other states are modeling the legislation after a law in Texas that effectively banned abortions after six weeks.
Florida’s bill contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, prevent serious injury to the mother, or if the fetus has a life-threatening abnormality. The state currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Republicans have repeatedly rejected Democrats’ attempts to add additional exceptions in the bill for pregnancies caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.
“As a woman, I have the right to make decisions about my body and what’s in the best interests of my family,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman, a Democrat. “God forbid your 11 year old daughter is raped and pregnant and you find out after 15 weeks you can’t abort your daughter, that’s what this law says.”
Near the end of the House debate, a group of activists in the House gallery broke out chanting “my body, my choice”, forcing the chamber to a halt before lawmakers could vote.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has previously signaled support for the proposal. The bill is now moving through the Republican-controlled Senate.
The Independent Gt