Florida 15-week abortion ban within one vote of the Governor's desk

Posted at 6:32 AM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 06:32:56-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida legislators could soon tighten the laws pertaining to abortion, pending one final vote from the Senate.

The Florida House of Representatives gave the final approval on the bill Monday. Now, if the bill is passed by the Senate, it would be sent to the governor's desk. Governor DeSantis has already expressed his support to tighten abortion laws.

House Bill 5 would shorten the amount of time a woman can get an abortion from the current 24 weeks to 15 weeks.

Democrats tried to amend the bill before allowing it to leave the house. They pushed several changes, including much-desired exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. None of the exemptions were approved, with most votes falling along party lines.

The current exceptions to HB 5 include fatal fetal abnormalities and situations when the mother's life is at risk.

Phyllis Trainor, a volunteer with Birthline Lifeline in Boynton Beach, says she would be happy to see the bill pass and believes these changes would be progress in the state of Florida.

"We just know that life begins at conception and that the unborn has the right to live as well," Trainor said. "Life begins at conception, and this is a fact of life now. It's taught in the medical schools and the journals, so every life has a right to live."

Laura Goodhue with Planned Parenthood says this would be the most dramatic set back in nearly 50 years.

"Putting up barriers to reproductive healthcare just means that more people are put in harms way," Goodhue said. "People don't turn to their representative to ask them whether or not they should get an abortion. They are turning to their spouse, their partner, their religion, their faith, to make these difficult very personal and private decisions. And it shouldn't be legislated.

A map from Guttmacher Institute shows which states are likely to tighten abortion bans if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Mississippi laws.

If HB 5 is passed, according to the map, women in the South Florida area would need to drive to North Carolina to get an abortion. The drive is at least 10 hours.

Guttmacher Institute

If HB 5 is signed into law, the ultimate decision will likely be the hands of the Supreme Court, who is currently considering a similar abortion ban out of Mississippi. Both bills conflict with Roe vs. Wade, and depending on the Supreme Court's decision on the Mississippi bill, the same will likely apply to the proposed abortion ban in Florida.

The Supreme Court is expected to vote on the Mississippi abortion ban by the end of June.