JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A bill that would prohibit abortions in Florida after the 15-week mark is now heading to the governor’s desk.
The Florida Senate passed House Bill 5 late Thursday night following emotional debate.
At a news conference Friday in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled he will sign the bill into law.
“This is a late-term. These are protections for babies that have heartbeats, that can feel pain,” DeSantis said. “I think the protections are warranted, and I think that we will be able to sign that in short order.”
Those who support the 15-week abortion limit bill feel it will save lives. Those against the bill feel it’s a violation of human rights.
Andrew Shrivell is the founder of Florida Voice for the Unborn. He feels the bill is a good start.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Shirvell said. “It is estimated to save about 5,000 unborn children’s lives here every year in Florida.”
The bill would not allow exceptions for rape or incest. It does contain exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life or prevent serious injury to the mother, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality confirmed by two doctors.
Kanesha Fuller is the president of the Woman’s March in Jacksonville. She feels the bill is harmful to women.
“We have a right to decide whether or not we want to reproduce, and this is our choice between us and our doctor,” Fuller said. “And that disproportionally affects women of color, it disproportionally affects poor communities, people in rural communities.”
According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, roughly 80,000 abortions were reported in Florida in 2021. Roughly 4,800, which is about 6%, came after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
HB 5 comes as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to uphold a similar 15-week abortion ban law in Mississippi.
Experts believe the court could overturn Roe v. Wade, which sets the current limit for abortion in Florida at 24 weeks.
“If it does, then Florida and her sister states will once again, I believe, have the ability to fully protect unborn children,” Shirvell said.
Fuller said: “We are depending on our Supreme Court to uphold that and to protect us because this is a violation of human rights.”
It’s unclear exactly when DeSantis is expected to sign the measure, which would go into effect July 1.