Florida six-week abortion bill headed to the Senate floor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A six-week abortion ban is now teed up for a floor vote in the Florida Senate after clearing its final committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.

In the bill’s final committee hearing in the Senate, public comment took up the bulk of the roughly five-hour proceeding, as the Senate President requested everyone get an opportunity to voice their opinion on this emotional topic.

Supporters argued Florida’s current 15-week ban is less restrictive than bans adopted in other states and has led to the procedures reaching a 14-year high in 2022.

“Our state right now, right now cause all the states around us, has become an abortion factory,” said abortion opponent James Calkins.

Opponents expressed anger and made it clear they felt as though their voices weren’t being heard.

“I have pleaded with you every year to acknowledge and consider the strife of Floridians who so desperately want a choice and a right to their own bodies and their own medical decisions,” said abortion rights supporter Hannah Folk.

The bill includes exemptions for rape and incest up to 15 weeks, but for other women, abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers argue the restrictions would effectively act as a total ban, partly because Florida also requires women to wait 24 hours after their initial visit before obtaining the procedure.

“We will be the only state in the United States that requires this very strict two in-person visits and a six-week abortion ban,” said Senate Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) who pitched an unsuccessful amendment that would have done away with the 24-hour waiting period.

In her close, Senate Sponsor Erin Grall (R-Fort Pierce) noted after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade, states were given the choice to regulate abortion and argued the bill reflects the choice of the majority of the Legislature.

“I present this bill to you because last year 82,192 children didn’t have a choice about whether or not their life would be taken from them,” said Grall.

Ultimately, the bill passed on a party-line vote.

The restrictions would only take effect if the Florida Supreme Court rules to uphold the state’s current 15-week ban.

That case is likely months away from a final resolution.

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