Florida abortion legislation would ban procedure after 15 weeks

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Republicans in Florida proposed legislation Tuesday that would make abortion illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

State Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Erin Grall filed the legislation on the first day of the state’s annual legislative session. 

The bills are similar to a Mississippi law under scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court – but less restrictive than a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks. 

“There’s a lot of pro-life legislation,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is up for reelection this year, said. “We’re going to be welcoming it. I haven’t looked at every single bill. I think if you look at what’s been done in some of these other states – I mean when you start talking about 15 weeks, where you have really serious pain and heartbeats and all this stuff – having protections I think is something that makes a lot of sense.”

The bills were also endorsed by state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Republican, and Senate President Wilton Simpson said he was optimistic it could pass. 

Florida state Sen. Kelli Stargel, right, shares a laugh with her husband John Stargel during a legislative session, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida.
(Associated Press)

“I think it’s a very good start and I think it’s something the committee process will vet out and perhaps be on the floor at some point,” said Simpson, who was adopted as a young child. “I’ve been pro-life all of my life.” 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Tallahassee, Jan. 11, 2022.
(Associated Press)

The legislation doesn’t have exceptions for rape or incest but does allow abortions in cases of serious threat to the mother’s life or if the fetus has a fatal defect. 

Currently, in Florida, women can get an abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. 

A fetus in the womb is seen via sonogram/ultrasound.

Florida Democrats, who are the minority in both chambers of the legislature, have said they will vigorously oppose the bills.

“We will continue to fight vociferously for a woman’s right to choose and right to health care,” Senate Democratic leader Lauren Book said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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