Florida’s governor has signed a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy into law.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ action on Thursday makes Florida the latest state to restrict access to abortions.
‘This will represent the most significant protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation,’ DeSantis said during a signing ceremony accompanied by guests who had regretted an abortion or refused one.
Florida currently allows abortions to be performed up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Effective July 1, the new law will reduce access to late-term abortions for women in the southeast US. Many women had traveled to Florida for the medical procedure, as many surrounding southern states already restrict abortion.
The new law only provides exceptions if an abortion is needed to save the mother’s life, avoid serious injury to her, or if she has an abnormal fetus. It does not make exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking cases.
On Wednesday, DeSantis stated that House Bill 5 ‘protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain’.
‘Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history,’ the governor stated.
Florida’s new law is modeled after one in Mississippi that also bans abortions after 15 weeks. Mississippi’s law is under review by the Supreme Court, with the six-member conservative majority appearing to be leaning toward upholding the law. If the high court upholds Mississippi’s law, it would overturn or greatly roll back protections that the landmark Roe v Wade decision gave to pregnant women.
Following DeSantis’ action, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slammed him for ‘criminalizing doctors who provide abortion care’.
‘We’ll keep saying it: No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy against their will,’ the organization . ‘We’ll see Florida in court.’
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