Florida Senate set to pass 6-week abortion limit – NBC 6 South Florida

The Florida Senate will pass a proposal on Thursday that would prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, amid a debate fueled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Senate Budget Policy Committee voted 12 to 7 on Tuesday to approve the bill (SB 300) after hearing often moving testimony from people on both sides of the issue. That approval sent the issue to the full Senate, where it’s scheduled for a session on Thursday.

“Abortion has touched all of us, and we should mourn what we have done as a country,” said Senate Patron Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. “We must ensure that our laws reflect the strongest protections for innocent life.”

But opponents said the bill would effectively end legal abortions in Florida because many women either don’t know they’re six weeks pregnant or couldn’t get appointments and meet other requirements. during this period. Opponents said he would deny access to health care for women.

“It’s a ban,” said Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boca Raton. “Let’s call it what it is.

The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a 15-week abortion limit last year. But that came before a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to control abortion laws.

The proposed six-week limit comes with a major caveat: Seven abortion clinics and one doctor have filed a constitutional challenge to the 15-week limit. A key question in this case is whether the limit violates a confidentiality clause in the Florida Constitution that has helped protect abortion rights in the state for more than three decades.

Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal (HB 7), moving to a six-week limit would depend on the Florida Supreme Court actually upholding the 15-week law. It’s unclear when the court will rule on the challenge, although it will likely be after the legislative session.

The House version has been approved by the Health Care Regulatory Subcommittee and is ready to go to the Health and Human Services Committee.

In addition to the six-week limit, the bills include other proposed changes, such as requiring abortion-inducing drugs to be provided in person by doctors and not by mail. In addition, the bills would prevent abortions from being provided via telehealth and expand services provided by organizations that counsel women against abortions.

Last year’s 15-week law has drawn criticism for not including exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

The new bills would allow abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest, but would require women to show documentation proving they were victims. These documents could include restraining orders, police reports or medical records.

Critics said on Tuesday that the six-week limit would lead women to travel to other states for abortions, undergo unsafe abortions or have unwanted babies.

“No matter what we do here today, abortions will continue to happen,” said Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Miami Gardens. “Whether legal or illegal and unsafe, abortions will always take place.”

Tuesday’s committee vote went along nearly straight party lines, with Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami, joining Democrats in opposition.

Grall and other supporters said the bill would help protect life.

“I believe in the sanctity of life,” said Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. “And I believe that when we are elected to these positions, that is one of our greatest charges, is to protect life.”

– News Service Assignment Manager Tom Urban contributed to this report.


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