Florida Senate Prepares To Vote On New Abortion Ban

This week, the Florida Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee listened to testimony on SB 300, a bill that proposes to restrict abortion access to six weeks, with some limited exceptions. The current limit on abortion in the state is set at 15 weeks. The exceptions included in the bill are preserving the life of the mother, cases of rape or incest, or a fatal fetal abnormality in a pregnancy that has not entered the third trimester.

The bill also mandates that doctors report any instances of minors being raped or subjected to incest to the central abuse hotline while prohibiting the use of telehealth for abortions. Finally, the legislation restricts the procedure to physicians only, prohibiting anyone else from performing it.

During a committee meeting on Tuesday, state Sen. Erin Grall (R-FL), who sponsored the bill, stated that her intention with the legislation is to safeguard the lives of unborn children.

“For decades now, Florida has been a nationwide leader in defending the rights of the unborn. The legislation before you today will make Florida a beacon of hope for those who understand that life is sacred and must be protected, said Grall.”

Pro-choice advocates have criticized the bill, arguing that it represents an attack on women’s reproductive rights.

During Tuesday’s committee meeting, Republicans rejected two amendments put forth by Democrats. The first amendment would have allowed an exception if giving birth would cause severe mental impairment to the mother. The second amendment would have eliminated the 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion.

The state of Florida’s current 15-week abortion ban is presently under legal challenge in the state’s Supreme Court. For the proposed six-week ban to become effective, the court would need to affirm the 15-week ban.

The Florida House is currently working on its own version of the abortion bill, known as HB 7. The House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee has approved the bill, but it must still clear additional hurdles in the committee before it can proceed to a full House vote.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has expressed his support for further pro-life legislation following his signing of a 15-week abortion ban into law almost a year ago. With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and sending the issue of abortion back to the states, DeSantis is expected to sign additional pro-life measures into law if they reach his desk.