Florida Lawmakers Considering Imposing Stricter Abortion Restrictions In 2023

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Incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has said she wants to see Florida’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks reduced to 12 weeks.

The proposal could include an exclusion for rape and incest, which is currently not allowed.

But anti-abortion activists want even tighter restrictions and are pushing an abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, reproductive rights groups in Florida say the state’s current ban has already made an impact, especially in Northern Florida, which borders states with near total abortion bans.

“Right before Roe fell and after the state ban was signed, the number of patients we saw tripled,” said Melanie Williams with Planned Parenthood of Florida.

“And that puts a strain on our health care workers and our patients because we have people coming from Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. We may have to call Florida patients who have an appointment on the books and ask them if they can push it back a little bit because we have somebody from another state who may be right on that cusp at 14 weeks.”

It’s been six months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that made access to an abortion a federal right in the United States.

At that time, individual states took action to restrict or expand reproductive rights.

In April, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill that bans most abortions in Florida after 15 weeks. The law went into effect in July.

Now, with state lawmakers saying further restrictions may be introduced, various reproductive rights groups are speaking out.

Chauntee Howard, with the advocacy group Melanin Mothers Meet, says any further limits on abortion will have an outsized impact on the black maternal mortality rate.

“Which is already higher than any other racial or ethnic group,” she said. “We’re three to four times more likely to die than our white counterparts, and there’s not enough attention being called to these disparities.”

According to census data, more Black people live in states that ban abortion, including several states that border Florida.

The 15-week ban is being challenged before the state’s Supreme Court and remains in effect until the court issues an opinion.