TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Senate Rules Committee on Monday teed up a new 15-week abortion ban for a vote by the full Senate, where the measure is almost certainly going be approved and sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On Jan. 28, public speakers at the House Health Care Appropriations Committee were given just 30 seconds to speak. Tensions boiled. One speaker refused to leave the podium, so she was escorted away by the sergeant at arms.
The room was eventually cleared, and the 15-week ban was approved. And after hours of debate as the full House was prepared to vote, sponsor Erin Grall was interrupted.
Chants broke out in the gallery.
Twenty-five were cited for trespassing and banned from the House for a year, but not the Senate. So, security at the final committee stop was heavy.
“Good afternoon members of the committee,” welcomed Senate Appropriations Chair Kelli Stargel.
Amendments were offered. One would have made an exception to the 15 weeks for rape or incest.
Kate Thompson, of St. Petersburg, told the committee she was sexually assaulted over an eight-year period.
“At the age of 5, which was when I was just learning to tie my shoes, I was raped for the first time,” Thompson told the Committee. She supported the amendment for rape or incest.
Bill Snyder, of Monticello, asked the committee to vote no on the exception.
“Execute the rapist and not the innocent unborn child,” he said.
An amendment to provide more conception was defeated as well and the bill remained intact.
Roe v. Wade currently allows abortions through 24 weeks. But lawmakers are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule favorably on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
Despite the tensions with Roe v. Wade, sponsor Kelli Stargel contends the bill is constitutional.
“Just because one court deemed something awhile back, doesn’t mean it can’t be revisited, and that’s what your are seeing” she said.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Mississippi case is expected in May or June.