Florida lawmakers move to ban abortions after 15 weeks

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed early support for new state legislation that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

A series of bills on the issue were filed Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, by Republican state representatives.

“I think there’s a lot of pro-life legislation, and we will be welcoming it. Having protections make a lot of sense,” DeSantis said at a news conference.

In July, the governor signed onto an amicus (friend of the court) brief to support a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.

In his State of the State address on Tuesday, DeSantis said:

“Finally, we have an opportunity to strengthen protections for the right to life, without which the other rights mean little. Protecting life does not end with the unborn. It must also include continued efforts to promote adoption and foster care so that all Floridians have a fair chance in life. Florida has 4,000 more licensed caregivers than in 2019 and I am proposing additional funds for foster parents in next year’s budget.”

Chris Sprowls, the Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, said in a news release, “The Florida House remains steadfast in our commitment to Florida’s children, both born and unborn. HB 5 significantly narrows the available window for elective abortions while providing new resources and programs to reduce infant mortality in Florida. “

Florida Planned Parenthood Action called the governor’s stance on abortion “dangerous for the people of Florida” in a tweet posted Wednesday.

A challenge to Mississippi’s law filed by the Jackson Women’s Health Organization has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

In deliberations on Dec. 1, the justices deliberated fetal viability and the 15-week line.

“The fetus has an interest in having a life,” Justice Samuel Alito said then, suggesting that right doesn’t change before or after viability. “What is the secular philosophical argument for saying this is the appropriate line?”

The Mississippi case challenges the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

A restrictive new Texas law, which bars abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, is also being challenged. The U.S. Supreme Court decided Dec. 10 to leave the law in place, but also ruled that a lawsuit seeking to strike the law down can proceed.

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