Florida Republicans seek ban on abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy

Senate bill introduced by Vero Beach lawmaker; companion bill filed in House
Florida Capitol building
Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 12:56:57-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican lawmakers in Florida introduced legislation Tuesday that seeks to prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

SB 300, filed by state Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, would make performing an abortion after six weeks a third-degree felony. A companion bill, HB 7, was introduced by state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers, in the Florida House.

Florida Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, in 2022, before becoming state senator
Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, asks a question about a bill filed in the Florida House of Representatives, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Grall is now a state senator.

The legislation, which Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he would support, was introduced on the same day that the Republican governor delivered his State of the State address, touting the "Florida way."

Although DeSantis didn't mention the bill in his speech, he did say Florida is "proud to be pro-life."

WATCH: DeSantis delivers State of the State address

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers 2023 State of the State address

Both bills provide exceptions in cases of rape and incest, if "the gestational age of the fetus is not more than 15 weeks as determined by the physician."

As Grall's proposed law is written, the woman would be required to provide evidence that she is the victim of rape or incest by providing a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court documentation.

Just last year, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that DeSantis signed into law.

Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up 15-week abortion ban law after signing it, April 15, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a 15-week abortion ban law after signing it Thursday, April 14, 2022, in Kissimmee, Fla. The move comes amid a growing conservative push to restrict abortion ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit access to the procedure nationwide.

DeSantis was asked about the bill in a post-speech news conference Monday.

"I think those exceptions are sensible and, like I said, we welcome pro-life legislation," DeSantis said.

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the 15-week abortion ban, though that likely won't come before the end of the current legislative session.

Democrats have called the legislation equivalent to an all-out ban and have vowed to fight it, even if they don't have the numbers.

House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell called it a "dramatic and drastic measure."

"And so while we don't have the votes to stop it, we cannot stop fighting," she said. "Because I fundamentally believe that our caucus actually represents the values of most Floridians."