A Republican-dominated committee in the Florida House of Representatives voted to advance a six-week abortion ban Thursday, though the state’s current 15-week ban is still being decided in state court.
All 13 Republican members of the Health Regulation subcommittee voted in favor of the proposal 7th House Bill, filed in the Florida House of Representatives this month. The bill would prohibit doctors from knowingly performing an abortion if the fetus is older than 6 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and is no more than 15 weeks old. weeks.
HB 7 also prohibits doctors from dispensing abortion-inducing drugs through platforms such as telehealth. Instead, a physician “must be physically present in the same room” when the abortion is performed or when abortion-inducing medications are dispensed.
Anyone who “knowingly performs or actively participates in a termination of pregnancy” in defiance of the new guidelines would be committing a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison under Florida state law.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis previously signed a 15-week abortion ban:House Bill 5—In law in the spring. The bill, which also makes providing an abortion outside of the guidelines a third-degree felony, took effect July 1 after the US Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections set forth in roe v. calf.
Florida’s current ban has faced multiple challenges in the courts, including a case filed by several abortion providers in the state who argue that the bill violates Florida’s constitutional protection for individual privacy. Florida Supreme Court agreed in January to review the case, which was thrown out by lower courts, but the judges did not grant the providers their request to immediately block HB 5 while the lawsuit continues.
The newly proposed six-week ban would only take effect if the 15-week ban is upheld in court.
Republican state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who proposed the six-week abortion ban, said the bill “recognizes the importance and value of the lives of unborn and innocent human beings.”
“The bill before you is not solely a reflection of my personal beliefs, but the result of listening in an attempt to build consensus around life-supportive policy,” he added, according to the Associated Press.
On Thursday, Democratic House Representative Anna Eskamani proposed a amendment to HB 7 which would strike down the entire six-week abortion ban, which did not pass. Fellow Democratic Representatives aunt allison other Kelly Skidmore it also proposed amendments that would ease the requirements for the rape, incest, and endangerment to life exceptions to the bill, but both amendments were also struck down.
eskamani managed the Florida legislature after their amendment failed, sharing how they both worked for Planned Parenthood and were patients there before being elected to the House.
“It’s very important that we protect reproductive rights, and I’m incredibly concerned that the direction we’re taking in Florida is creating a scenario, as Representative Tant mentioned, where people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks,” she said. . aggregate.
End-shutdown week has contacted Planned Parenthood by email for comment.
A six-week limit on abortion has often been referred to as a “beat bill”. Fetal heart activity can often be detected between the sixth and seventh weeks of pregnancy, depending on the American Pregnancy Association.
Ohio passed a six-week abortion ban after roe overturning, but a judge ordered the ban to be blocked in October, pending a legal challenge that the bill violates state privacy laws. Currently, abortion is legal for fetuses up to 20 weeks of age in Ohio.
In November, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the statewide abortion ban at six weeks pregnant.
Abortion was a top voter issue heading into the 2022 midterms, and in January, on NPR/Ipsos survey found that three in five Americans feel that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Nearly 70 percent of those polled also said they would support voting on abortion through a ballot measure or a statewide election referendum, as Kansas voters did in August.