Republican lawmakers in the Florida on Tuesday filed a bill to ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a ban that would severely undermine access to the procedure in the US South if passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Bills filed on the opening day of the legislature’s regular session in 2023 make exceptions for rape and incest, but not for the life and health of a pregnant person.
Florida Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantishave said they want to further restrict abortions in the state after last year approved a ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Patients have been traveling to Florida from across the southeastern United States to terminate pregnancies after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, striking down federal abortion rights. More than a dozen states have almost completely banned the procedure since that landmark decision.
Out-of-state abortions increased 38% in 2022 compared to 2021, data from the Florida Public Health Agency showed.
DeSantis, who is expected to challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, told reporters Tuesday that he supports the “pro-life bill” when asked about the new bills. He previously said he would sign the abortion ban in six weeks.
DeSantis said he thinks the bills’ rape and incest exclusions are “sensible.”
Abortion rights advocates and Democrats, including White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre, spoke out Tuesday against new bills that would ban abortions before many women know they are pregnant.
“Like all abortion bans, this bill will prevent people from getting the health care they need and take control over their own bodies, their lives and their futures,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. statement.