By Eric Daugherty
February 17, 2022 Updated 8:46 A.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – Early on Thursday, the Florida House of Representatives voted to approve HB 5 – “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality” – which would effectively ban abortion after 15 weeks into pregnancy with essentially zero exceptions.
The bill was voted on at 12:01 A.M. Thursday, passing 78-39, with Republicans championing the measure.
The novel Florida abortion ban would provide very limited exceptions, one of which allows abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. The purpose of the exception is to ensure the life of as many as possible: proponents argue it is better for the mother to live than both the baby and mother to die.
It also gives exceptions for abortions that would prevent serious injury to the mother or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
There are no exceptions for rape and incest.
The bill was sent to the Senate, also Republican controlled. In the likely event that it passes, it would become the new abortion norm for the state, which currently permits abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The intensely pro-life legislation follows the lead of other Republican-controlled state legislatures like Texas who are making strides to outlaw abortion. Currently, other states like Arizona and West Virginia are working on their own versions of 15-week abortion bans.
The Texas legislation is more strict, banning abortion after 6 weeks, and Republican State Representative Anthony Sabatini voiced his support for the bill while acknowledging more action is needed:
Democrat State Representative Anna Eskamani, known for her intensely pro-abortion stance, is a strong opposer of the bill, saying that the “women of Florida” ought to be making the decision as to whether the fetus is killed.
“This is not something with which the government should be involved.”
At the time of reporting, the bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If passed, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is expected to sign the legislation.
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