TALLAHASSEE – Florida lawmakers voted early Thursday morning along almost straight party lines to approve a controversial abortion bill, which would ban most abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill does not allow exceptions for rape or incest.
The only exceptions for the procedure would be to save a woman’s life, physical impairment to the mother if the pregnancy is carried to full term and if doctors certify the baby won’t survive.
Right now, abortion in Florida is legal up to 24 weeks.
People opposed to the bill were at the state Capitol on Wednesday. Roughly 50 opponents filled a gallery in the House chamber, waiting for the debate on House Bill 5.
Those demonstrating said abortion is a private matter.
“They don’t think politicians should be interfering in these very private personal decisions about whether or not a person should be able to continue their pregnancy. And that’s what we’re here for,” said Laura Goodhue, with the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood. “Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for 49 years now, and we’re not going to go quietly. We’re going to be fighting every step of the way for reproductive rights in Florida.”
After nearly six hours of debate, the Republican-dominated House approved the measure (HB 5) in a 78-39 vote along almost straight party lines.
The Senate Appropriations Committee likely will take up the House bill Monday, according to a Senate calendar. Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, has sponsored a Senate version (SB 146) of the bill.
If Gov. Ron DeSantis approves the measure, the next step may be a state court challenge. That will ultimately end at the Florida Supreme Court.