A ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy was passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday and signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely anticipated to run for president in 2020.
As DeSantis prepares to start a presidential campaign based on his national identity as a conservative standard bearer, the prohibition delivers him a major electoral triumph among Republican primary voters.
On Thursday night, the governor’s office released a statement saying that he had signed the bill into law.
If the present 15-week restriction is upheld in a legal challenge before the conservative-controlled state Supreme Court, then the new 6-week ban will go into effect.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, leaving abortion access decisions to the states, this legislation would have far-reaching implications throughout the South. While abortion is illegal at any point in pregnancy in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, it is illegal in Georgia once heart activity can be discovered, at roughly six weeks.
“We have the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose.”
“This ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant. This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care.”
Some situations are exempt from the rule, such as when doing so could save a woman’s life. If a woman can show evidence, like a restraining order or police report, she will be able to get an abortion up until the 15th week of her pregnancy if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The rape and incest provisions have been deemed reasonable by DeSantis.
Medication-induced abortions, which account for the vast majority of abortions performed in the United States, require the use of drugs that, under Florida law, could only be administered in person or by a physician. Mifepristone’s availability for use in abortion is also being challenged in court on a national scale.
“I can’t think of any bill that’s going to provide more protections to more people who are more vulnerable than this piece of legislation. who said the bill’s exceptions and six-week timeframe represented a compromise.”
“Have we learned nothing?.Do we not listen to our constituents and to the people of Florida and what they are asking for?”
DeSantis has indicated he supports the six-week moratorium, but he has appeared strangely hesitant about the bill. DeSantis often puts himself on the front lines of culture war topics. He has been quoted as saying, “We welcome pro-life legislation,” in response to questions regarding this stance.
The conservative measures passed by the Republican supermajority in the Statehouse this year are likely to boost DeSantis’ prospective White House run, which he is expected to announce once the session concludes in May.
Both chambers of the legislature passed the law along party lines with little difficulty because Democrats had no real leverage in the state legislature. It was passed by the Senate last week, and by the House on Thursday.
During a demonstration in Tallahassee opposing the six-week ban, police arrested and charged with trespassing a Democratic senator and the chairperson of the Florida Democratic Party. On Thursday, Democrats offered a large number of amendments to the measure in an effort to postpone its passage in the House. These amendments were all rejected by Republicans.