Florida House Passes Bill Banning Most Abortions After Six Weeks of Pregnancy

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives in Florida has passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill, S.B. 300, would make Florida one of the most restrictive states in the country to obtain an abortion and is expected to prevent most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. However, opponents of the legislation have argued that six weeks is before many women know that they are pregnant.[0] The state Supreme Court in 1989 determined that a privacy clause in the state constitution “is clearly implicated in a woman’s decision of whether or not to continue her pregnancy”.[0]

A person’s ability to get an abortion in Florida is protected by a state supreme court precedent that found that a person’s right to privacy allows them to get an abortion. Attempts by the legislature to limit abortion in Florida have been consistently thwarted by the courts for many years.[0] Following the verdict of the supreme court to revoke the constitutional entitlement of abortion for women, Florida emerged as a sanctuary for women who were deprived or had limited access to reproductive healthcare in states such as Louisiana and Alabama.

The implications of the bill would be extensive throughout the southern region.[1] If DeSantis signs the latest legislation, the six-week ban would not go into effect until the state Supreme Court overturns its previous precedent on abortion.[2] Legal challenges have been filed in the state’s Supreme Court against the 15-week ban that was approved last year.[3] The enactment of the new ban would be dependent on the court’s ruling in the matter, even if DeSantis approves the bill.[4] The approval of the bill by both houses is a significant accomplishment for those against abortion in Florida. These activists have been striving to limit access for a long time, and were rejuvenated by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year.[5]

The proposed law will allow individuals who have experienced rape, incest, or human trafficking to access abortion services up to 15 weeks into their pregnancy. The provision of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or any other form of evidence will be required from the woman seeking the procedure. Only under certain circumstances can abortions be performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, including to protect the life of the pregnant individual or prevent serious harm to their health, in cases of a fatal fetal abnormality, or cases of rape, incest, or human trafficking. Although the ban of six weeks being proposed does have allowances for cases of rape, incest, and human trafficking, these exemptions are only applicable up to the 15th week of pregnancy.

The Republicans are scarcely superior to the Democrats.[6] They are so captured by a fringe minority of hard-right activists that they cripple themselves with stupid policies like abortion.[6] The Republicans could absolutely own the abortion debate, if they simply adopted a policy legalizing abortion up to 16 weeks, something 80% of the population supports. The Democrats hold peculiar beliefs regarding abortion, advocating for its legalization beyond the third trimester, which has virtually no support from anyone.[6] And yet, despite knowing that almost no one supports their policy option, the party still persists.[6]

Abortion has put the Republican Party in a difficult situation.[7] Abortion rights are a persistent issue that Democrats are addressing in red states like Wisconsin and Kansas, as they recognize the significant impact of women and young voters in these areas.[7] The Republicans have lost on an issue that has been the basis of their inspiration for decades.[7] Effectively banning abortion is indeed a major vote loser for the Republicans, and in any case, since they would lose power in many close races, this would lead to far more abortions taking place with the Democrats likely to legalise very late-stage abortions.[6]

The Republicans abruptly shift from passively following their opponents’ ideologies to adopting the most radical stance possible, which is to prohibit abortion.[6] To make things even worse, they have succumbed to the influence of several irate commentators who are veering towards insanity and pushing them towards adopting a stance associated with the “religious right”.[6] It is important to remember that a puritanical policy, whether from the left or the right, is unlikely to be consciously supported by many of us when we vote.[6] It is extremely uninviting.[6]

The White House criticized the legislation on Thursday, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying the “extreme and dangerous” bill “flies in the face of fundamental freedoms and is out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of Florida and of all the United States.”[8] Florida saw one of the largest increases in total number of abortions in the six months after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision ended the constitutional right to abortion, according to a report by the Society of Family Planning.

In the US, Florida has one of the highest rates of abortions. Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to reverse Roe v, the number of legal abortions in the U.S. decreased by 6% over a six-month period.[9]

0. “Florida Gov. DeSantis signs 6-week abortion ban” CNN, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/13/politics/florida-abortion-ban/index.html

1. “‘It’s a scary time’: Florida Democrat vows to keep fighting six-week abortion ban” The Guardian US, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/13/florida-democrat-lauren-book-fight-six-week-abortion-ban

2. “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs six-week ‘heartbeat bill’ into law to limit abortion” Fox News, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/florida-governor-ron-desantis-signs-six-week-heartbeat-bill-into-law-limit-abortion

3. “DeSantis signs Florida’s 6-week abortion ban into law” Yahoo Entertainment, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/florida-gop-controlled-legislature-approves-203814816.html

4. “Rick Scott on 6-week abortion ban: ‘If I was still governor, I would sign this bill’” The Hill, 13 Apr. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/3949607-rick-scott-on-6-week-abortion-ban-if-i-was-still-governor-i-would-sign-this-bill/

5. “Florida abortion bill passes: 6-week abortion ban goes to DeSantis” Tallahassee Democrat, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/2023/04/13/florida-abortion-law-6-week-ban-passes-desantis/70110844007/

6. “Abortion is a big vote-loser for Republicans” UnHerd, 12 Apr. 2023, https://unherd.com/thepost/abortion-is-the-big-vote-loser-for-republicans/

7. “Ron DeSantis May Fall Into His Own Abortion Trap” The Daily Beast, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/ron-desantis-may-fall-into-his-own-abortion-trap

8. “Florida Governor DeSantis signs abortion ban into law” Al Jazeera English, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/13/florida-governor-desantis-to-sign-six-week-abortion-ban

9. “DeSantis Signs Florida’s 6-Week Abortion Ban” Forbes, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2023/04/14/desantis-signs-floridas-6-week-abortion-ban

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