Florida’s state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing only for exceptions involving “serious risk” to the pregnant person and fatal fetal abnormality but with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The GOP-sponsored bill was passed by the state House last month and will go to Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has previously signaled his support for lawmakers to restrict access to abortion.
Florida joins West Virginia and Arizona as conservative-led states advancing a 15-week abortion ban bill this session as the US Supreme Court appears poised to uphold a similar Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks. The fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, also hangs in the balance, and anti-abortion activists are hopeful that the court’s conservative majority will strike it down.
Florida law currently bans abortions in the third trimester. It allows exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert “serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment” to a pregnant woman.
The bill passed by both chambers would keep those exemptions and add another: if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
The more than a dozen amendments proposed by Democrats, including one that would provide an exception for rape and incest, failed.
Senators voted along party lines 23-15 in favor of the legislation, which, if signed into law by DeSantis, would go into effect July 1.
Democrats opposed to the measure were quick to voice their opposition Thursday night, with the party’s House members saying in a statement that it was “a direct assault on the people of Florida and our constitutional rights.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on social media said that the measure would roll back a basic dignity for women.
“More troubling is rejecting exceptions for rape and incest, even for young girls. Abortion is a deeply personal decision, and silencing that decision is outrageous and wrong,” she said.