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Florida 15-week abortion ban heads to the state senate floor

Florida State Capitol
Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 06:05:20-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Republican-backed bill that would ban almost all abortions before 15 weeks in the state of Florida moved another step closer to final approval Monday when it passed the state Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill now stands just one vote away from Governor Ron DeSantis' desk. Governor DeSantis has indicated he would sign the new restrictions that trim nine weeks off the current law and only makes exceptions for fatal fetal conditions.

Democrats tried to amend the new law including exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. However, Republicans were able to defeat each amendment, mostly along party lines.

The bill is sponsored by state Senator Kelli Stargel of Lakeland. She defended her resistance to any added exceptions saying 15 weeks is enough time to make a decision and then went further.

"I think there's something to be said that just because a child was conceived in rape or incest — that that child cannot be loved," Stargel said Monday.

The GOP-controlled House passed the 15-week abortion ban last Thursday after hours of debate between Democrats who said the measure would impose an unnecessary burden on pregnant women and Republicans who said they were protecting the unborn.

Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book said she recognized the likely approval of the full senate any day now, but still held out hope for amendments that can be offered on the Senate floor.

“I believe that Floridians— regardless of their party— believe that there should be additional time for a survivor of rape, incest, or human trafficking— more time to decide,” Senator Book said.

Still, the ultimate fate of the bill will remain up to the United States Supreme Court. The nation's top court is expected to render a decision soon on a similar law from Mississippi prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, it will likely mean Florida's law stands. If the Court doesn't uphold the law, Florida's law would be in legal limbo.