Florida House Approves A Ban On Most Abortions After 15 Weeks

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Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives have approved a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, moving to tighten access to the procedure ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit abortion rights in America.

The GOP-controlled House early Thursday passed the 15-week abortion ban after hours of debate between Democrats who said the measure would impose an unnecessary burden on pregnant women and Republicans who said they were protecting the unborn.

Republicans in several state legislatures are moving to place new restrictions on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled it would uphold a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks and potentially overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Supporters say that’s enough time for the mother to make a decision, but critics say it could have devastating consequences.

Republicans WESH spoke to are confident this 15-week abortion ban, also known as HB 5, will pass through the house tonight.

The House speaker highlighted it as one of the top five bills filed this session.

The legislation specifically says a doctor may not perform an abortion “if the physician determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks.”

It does not grant exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.

“I think it’s a great bill. I think it’s a good step forward. I actually approve of and support an even pro-life bill. But this is a really good step forward and it’s going to save the lives of unborn children,” Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) of Lake County said.

“Being a parent even when you want your child is fundamentally a sacrifice. But it is a privilege. It is a gift that God has given us all. It is the highest gift that he can give us,” Rep. Randy Fine (R) said. “You’ve got two sets of rights that are fundamentally in conflict. You’ve got the right of a woman to do what she wants with her body. And you have the right of a baby to exist. And both of these rights cannot exist at the same time.”

Democrats harshly disagreed.

“All abortion bans are extreme. They rob women and people of the freedom to make their own decisions,” Rep. Carlos G Smith (D) said.

“We are worried with the SCOTUS, the Supreme Court of the United States, making a decision on a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that the entire intention of our Republican colleagues is to bring Florida’s abortion ban to court and try to overturn the current protections established both in our state Constitution and federally,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) of Orange County said.

Now it’ll go to the Senate next where there’s already a companion bill that needs to clear one more committee.