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Florida Legislature Passes 15-Week Abortion Ban

Florida Legislature Passes 15-Week Abortion Ban

According to Politico, Florida legislators enacted the strongest abortion ban in the state’s history on Thursday, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the most restrictive in the country.

The law, known as House Bill 5, will now be presented to Governor Ron DeSantis, who is likely to sign it. The bill is expected to take effect on July 1 of this year.

Rape, incestuous relationships, and human trafficking are all prohibited under the new law. Abortion is illegal in Florida beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy, according to the state’s current statute.

Other states, including Arizona and West Virginia, are exploring legislation that would restrict abortions beyond 15 weeks, according to Politico. The legislation would be fashioned after Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. The Idaho Senate voted on Thursday to enact an abortion ban fashioned after the Texas abortion restriction of six weeks in duration.

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According to Politico, Florida’s bill was designed after Mississippi’s legislation, however legislators contemplated introducing a plan similar to the Texas law, which permits patients to sue abortion doctors, as well.

The abortion laws in Texas and Mississippi are now being considered by the United States Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case against Mississippi’s ban on abortion in December, conservative justices were likely to maintain the legislation, which may diminish safeguards under Roe v. Wade. The Mississippi case is anticipated to be decided by the Supreme Court over the summer.

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In Florida, the vote on Thursday came after months of intense discussion and brought an end to a months-long battle between activists and politicians on both sides of the aisle. People discussed the fundamental issues surrounding abortion, such as when a fetus is considered a living being and whether or not exceptions should be made for rape, incest, and human trafficking, among other topics.

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According to Politico, Democrats in Florida were unable to persuade Republicans to include the exclusions. However, if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or if the fetus has fatal defects that have been identified by two physicians, the law makes an exemption.

According to The Washington Post, Florida’s bill is one of more than 20 abortion restrictions that have been filed around the nation this year, including in California.

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