TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Abortion advocates were alarmed Thursday after the passage Six-week ban in Florida from its first legislative committee. The Republican majority aligned him with Gov. Ron DeSantis 13-5 votes along party lines.
In case of signature and confirmation by state courts, HB7 reduces access to abortion in Florida from 15 weeks to 6 weeks, making exceptions for cases of rape, incest and stillbirth. This is almost the point where doctors can detect “heart activity”, but before many know they are pregnant.
“My personal belief is that life begins at conception,” said Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulica, D-Fort Myers, who is sponsoring the House version of the bill.
She said Wednesday her goal was to prevent as many abortions as possible.
“There is no greater purpose that drives me than to give every child the opportunity to be born and live,” she said.
WATCH: Sponsor of 6-week abortion ban wants society where ‘abortion is unthinkable’
Sponsor of 6-week abortion ban wants society where ‘abortion is unthinkable’
The idea came across mostly fierce opposition from the public. More than 100 signed up before the vote, including doctors, mothers, and teenagers. Some said they fear ending access will lead to a return to unsafe abortion practices and that lawmakers aren’t listening.
“People have talked about being raped, people have talked about being sexually assaulted, people have talked about their trauma, things they’ve dealt with their whole lives, and they can sit there and act like it never happened.” said Neela Ravindran, a student at Sarasota High School. “I don’t understand how they can act like it never happened. People are crying in this lobby.”
Other abortion advocates have vowed to retaliate at the ballot box in 2024, hoping that electoral pressure will be their best option since, even united, Democrats lack the votes needed to stop the bill at the Capitol. But Republicans don’t seem too phased — even with polls showing abortion bans are unpopular and failing on referendums in red states.
DeSantis sounds sympathetic, saying last week that he welcomes “pro-life legislation,” and GOP leaders remain on board.
The House bill will now go to a final committee, which is expected to meet in the coming days. The Senate version will hold the first of two hearings on Monday afternoon.