Florida Republicans Propose Six-Week Abortion Ban, Sparking Resistance from Reproductive Rights Movement

Republican lawmakers in Florida proposed legislation Tuesday that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions.[0] If passed, the bill would effectively eliminate most abortion access in the US South, and would come as a blow to women seeking the procedure, as Florida has long been a destination for those seeking abortions. The bill allows for exceptions until the 15th week if the pregnancy is due to rape or incest, as well as for medical emergencies that threaten the life or cause serious harm to the mother.[1]

Governor Ron DeSantis said during a news conference after his State of the State address that he welcomed “pro-life legislation” and found exceptions in the latest proposal reasonable.[2] He did not say specifically whether he would sign the bill into law.[3]

The proposal comes as many states are considering laws that would create additional support for pregnant women, new mothers or young children.[4] However, there is opposition to social safety net expansions from some politicians. “Most states really jumped at the opportunity to pick up this new option,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.[4] There were some politicians who were not in favor of extending Medicaid benefits to anyone, unfortunately.[4]

The restriction of abortions at six weeks is seen as extreme by many. “Most people do not even know they are pregnant until after six weeks, so this six-week ban might as well be a complete ban,” said state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat.

The new law would restrict access to abortions at a time when many do not even know they are pregnant.[5] Robyn Schickler, an OBGYN and chief medical officer with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said that “most people don’t realize they are pregnant until at least a week after they miss their first period, by which point they’re already five weeks along because of the way gestational age is calculated.”

The bill has been met with resistance from those in the reproductive rights movement.[6] “It is hugely problematic if Florida increases even more its limitations on access to abortion,” said Nancy Northup, head of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “It’s the third largest state in the country.

0. “Florida’s latest anti-abortion bill could nearly eliminate access across the South” The Independent, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/florida-abortion-law-ron-desantis-b2296145.html

1. “Florida Republicans seek ban on abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy” POLITICO, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/07/florida-abortion-ban-6-week-bills-00085865

2. “Florida lawmakers to consider 6-week abortion limit” WJXT News4JAX , 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/03/07/florida-lawmakers-to-consider-6-week-abortion-limit/

3. “GOP Florida lawmakers seek to ban abortion after 6 weeks” Orlando Sentinel, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-florida-abortion-ban-six-weeks-bill-20230307-62zzgqxbkbcufmhwukfcc5knqy-story.html

4. “Some GOP Legislators Are Trying To Show They’re Pro-Life, Not Just Anti-Abortion” FiveThirtyEight, 9 Mar. 2023, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gop-legislators-trying-pro-life-not-just-anti-abortion/

5. “Republicans push wave of bills that would bring homicide charges for abortion” The Guardian US, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/mar/10/republican-wave-state-bills-homicide-charges

6. “Florida lawmakers introducing bill banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy” NBC2 News, 10 Mar. 2023, https://nbc-2.com/news/politics/2023/03/07/florida-lawmakers-introducing-bill-banning-abortion-after-six-weeks-of-pregnancy

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