A proposal that would prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is set to be discussed by the Florida Senate on Thursday amid a debate refueled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade.
As Senate Bill 300 gets closer to becoming a law, here are some things Floridians should be aware of how the legislation will affect reproductive healthcare in the state.
What would the new bill do to Florida’s existing abortion laws?
The Pregnancy and Parenting Support bill (the new bill) would ban abortions after six week, reducing the current ban after 15 weeks in Florida.
The 15-week abortion ban was signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 15-week abortion ban into law last year. It is still being challenged. A motion for a temporary order against the ban was denied by a Miami-Dade County Judge in February.
Pregnancy and Parenting support bill will only be in effect if current law is upheld. It would make it a crime for a woman to have an abortion beyond six weeks, with some exceptions.
An exception would be made to save the life and incest pregnancy up to 15 weeks.
Pregnant women will need to present documentation to support their claim of victimhood, such as a police report, medical record or restraining order.
How has the community responded to the bill
There have been passionate opinions from both sides about the legislation.
Opponents of the bill have said that by the time a woman finds out she’s pregnant, it will become too late to get an abortion or there will be too little time to arrange one — especially for victims of rape and incest.
They also claimed that the bill would have a greater impact on rural women with limited access to health care because it will make it more difficult for them to get an abortion.
“This bill is too restrictive,” said Democratic Rep. Robin Bartleman. “The amount of paperwork a woman must go through in order to prove they were raped can be traumatizing.”
Bartleman stated that most rapes don’t get reported. She also acknowledged that Republicans are likely to get their way.
“You will have the votes, you have supermajority. There will essentially be an outright abortion ban in the state of Florida,” she said. “I can do math.”
Alternatively, the bill’s proponents focus on unborn children whose lives are “saved”, if the legislation passes.
“It’s a bill that recognizes the importance and value of the life of innocent, unborn human beings,” said Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka said of her proposal. “The bill that’s before you is not solely a reflection of my personal beliefs, but a result of listening in an attempt to build consensus around a policy that supports life.”
Governor Ron DeSantis indicated that he would support the ban. Signing the bill could give DeSantis a boost among conservative voters, as he is widely believed to be running for president.
A Florida House committee unanimously approved a six-week ban on abortion. NBC 6’s Steve Litz reports
What is the status of the bill now?
The proposed six-week ban is set to be discussed by the Florida Senate on Mar. 30.
The House bill version was approved by a party line vote during the Health and Human Services Committee meeting on March. 30.
The bill was approved by a majority of the Florida House committee earlier this month. 16 as Democrats also acknowledged that they cannot stop the bill from becoming law.
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