Florida abortion bill heads to governor’s desk

TALLAHASSEE – Florida doctors could soon be prohibited from performing abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy after the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill Thursday night that is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

Gov. DeSantis has indicated that he is in favor of the measure and that he will sign it.

Senators approved the measure (HB 5) in a 23-15 party-line vote that was the culmination of hours of tense debate over two days. Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, did not vote on the bill, while one Senate seat is vacant.

RELATED: Florida Senate passes 15-week abortion limit

The House passed the bill last month in a 78-39 vote along almost straight party lines. DeSantis has indicated in the past he likely would support a 15-week limit.

Senate bill sponsor Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, fought back tears as she delivered closing remarks and described past efforts to strengthen a law that required parents to be notified before minors could have abortions.

“I never dreamed I’d be standing here today, not just giving parental notice, but actually being able to save the life of babies that are past 15 weeks of gestation. God is so good,” Stargel said.

The bill, which would take effect July 1 if signed by DeSantis, closely resembles a Mississippi law that is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case could determine whether the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights is scaled back or overturned.

Roe v. Wade generally has allowed women to have abortions until about 24 weeks of pregnancy.

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About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.