Florida bills would restrict abortions after 15 weeks

Florida bills would restrict abortions after 15 weeks
Written by Publishing Team

As the 2022 legislative session began on Tuesday, two influential Republican lawmakers tabled proposals that would bar doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The bills (SB 146 and HB 5), introduced by Senate Speaker Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and House Speaker Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, largely reflect the restriction on abortion in a Mississippi law that is before the United States Supreme Court. .

The proposals will also add a very volatile question to the 60-day legislative session that began on Tuesday with a state of the state address from Governor Ron DeSantis.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls of R-Palm Harbor was quick to support the House’s abortion bill, which also addresses issues related to reducing child mortality.

“The Florida House remains steadfast in our commitment to Florida’s children, born and unborn,” Sprowls said in a prepared statement. “HB 5 dramatically narrows the window available for elective abortions while providing new resources and programs to reduce infant mortality in Florida. This bill is the result of the hard work of many members of Parliament, and I would particularly like to thank Speakers Grall and Burton for their leadership on this important issue.

DeSantis alluded during the speech to having “an opportunity to strengthen protections of the right to life, without which other rights mean little”. Speaking to reporters later, he said he thought a 15-week limit “makes a lot of sense.”

Democratic lawmakers and a coalition of groups known as the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday to push back further restrictions on abortion.

“Each person should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their health and their body, including whether to have an abortion,” Aurelie Colon Larrauri, of the Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice Florida, said Tuesday. “No one should have their most personal medical decisions controlled by politicians. “

Stargel and Grall have long supported imposing additional restrictions on abortions. During the 2020 legislative session, for example, they teamed up to sponsor a bill requiring minors to receive parental consent before having an abortion, a measure DeSantis signed on to.

Speculation swirled for months about the Republican-controlled legislature imposing new restrictions on abortions during the 2022 session. This speculation was fueled, at least in part, by the United States Supreme Court considering Mississippi law and a Texas law that effectively prevents abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on Dec. 1 over the Mississippi law, sparking widespread views that the court’s conservative majority would uphold the law – or perhaps go further by overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade on abortion.

Florida’s new bills would include exceptions to the 15 week limit to protect the lives of pregnant women or to “avoid serious risk of imminent, substantial and irreversible physical harm to a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. “. In addition, it would include an exception for fetuses that have not reached viability and have life-threatening abnormalities.

The bills do not make an exception for rape or incest.

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