Florida Senate passes 6-week abortion ban backed by DeSantis

On Monday, the Florida Senate approved a bill banning abortions after six weeks. This measure was supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares for his anticipated presidential campaign.

Protests at the capital of Florida erupted after the vote, which led to the arrests of the leader and senator of Florida Democratic Party.

Before the proposal can be sent to the governor, it must be approved by the House. Florida bans abortions after 15-weeks.

A six-week ban would more closely align Florida with the abortion restrictions of other Republican-controlled states and give DeSantis a political win on an issue important with GOP primary voters ahead of his potential White House run.

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Florida Democrats and advocacy groups for abortion rights claim that this proposal is unfairly affected by low-income women and people with a disability.

According to the party, Nikki Fried (chair of the Florida Democratic Party) and Lauren Book (florida’s senate minority leader) were both arrested at a sit in protest outside the Florida State Capitol on Monday night. The two women, along with other demonstrators, were captured as they were being handcuffed and taken into custody by officers in images shared on social media.

Tallahassee Police Department stated in a press release that protesters against the ban on abortion were told they had to leave by sunset. However, 11 people refused and were arrested for trespassing. They didn’t identify them by name.

This bill could have greater implications for abortion access in the South as nearby states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana would prohibit it at all stages of pregnancy. Georgia, however, bans it only after cardiac activity is detected. That’s around six weeks.

“Bodily autonomy shouldn’t give anyone the right to kill innocent people. “We live in an age where consequences of our actions are secondary and convenience has been substituted for responsibility. This is unacceptable when it concerns the protection of the most vulnerable,” stated Sen. Erin Grall (a Republican), who sponsored the bill.

The proposal permits exceptions for saving the life of the woman, and in cases of pregnancy due to rape or incest up to 15 weeks. A woman would need to submit documentation, such as a medical report, restraining or police report, in these cases. DeSantis called incest and rape reasonable.

It would be necessary that drugs used in medication-induced abortions, which account for the majority of national providers, could only be administered in person by a doctor.

The new bill will only be effective if the current state ban of 15 weeks is not upheld in a legal challenge currently before the state Supreme Court.

Republicans hold a supermajority of the Legislature. They have focused mainly on DeSantis priorities throughout the current legislative session. DeSantis will likely announce his presidential candidacy once the session ends in May. His potential White House run is partly supported by conservative policies that were approved in the statehouse in this year’s session.

Democrats concede that they can’t stop the proposal moving forward.

Democratic Senator Book called on women to call her office immediately during Monday’s debate, reading her number out loud on the Senate floor. She was urging them to do so if they are thinking about having an abortion or need to get in touch with their healthcare providers.

“Please do not take matters into your own hands. Your safety is not at risk. There are no back-alley abortions. There are many people and funds available to help you. No matter where or how difficult your situation may be, there are people and funds that can help you. You are not alone, I promise. Book suggested calling my office.