At least three states give go-ahead to 15 week abortion ban
by Rehan Qamar
At least three states have advanced a 15-week abortion plan this week. The decisions come ahead of the Supreme Court decision regarding the Mississippi law that has the ability to limit abortion rights across the country by overturning Roe v. Wade, the Associated Press reported.
Most recently Florida’s GOP-controlled House passed the ban after several hours of debate in which Democrats argued the measure would create an undue burden on women. Florida currently allows abortions until 24 weeks of pregnancy. According to NPR, while about 3.5% of abortions in Florida happen after 15 weeks, the result is still thousands of pregnancies.
“This is the right to life and to give up life is unconscionable to me,” said Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy, a supporter of the bill. Trabulsy also shared that while she has previously had an abortion, she has “regretted it everyday since.”
Republicans also described the ban as a “very reasonable” and “generous” alternative to the current six-week ban effective in Texas.
“I believe we have a unique opportunity in the fact that the Supreme Court is considering 15 weeks right now,” Rep. Erin Grall said. “This would allow Florida to save as many babies as possible as soon as possible after that decision is made.”
While bill supporters claim the bill “protects” all lives, it clearly disregards that of the pregnant person. An amendment to include an exception for rape, human trafficking, and incest survivors was denied. Instead, the only exceptions are for the life of the mother and for “fatal fetal anomalies.”
“As a woman it is my right to make decisions about my body and what is in the best interest of my family,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman, a Democrat. “God forbid your 11 year old is raped and pregnant and you find out after 15 weeks, you don’t get to get your daughter that abortion, that’s what this law says.”
According to The Washington Post, the bill will now move to the Florida Senate on Monday, where it is expected to pass before going to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law as he has openly expressed his support against abortions.
It follows a similar bill being passed on Tuesday in Arizona. The restrictive abortion bill not only makes it illegal to have an abortion after 15 weeks of being pregnant, but makes it a crime for doctors to perform such an abortion.
According to Senate Bill 1164, medical officials who conduct abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy could lose their medical licenses or face up to a year in state prison.
“The state has an obligation to protect life, and that is what this bill is about,” one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Nancy Barto, said during the debate. “A 15-week-old baby in the womb has a fully formed nose, lips, eyelids, they suck their thumbs. They feel pain. That’s what this bill is about.”
All state Democrats opposed the bill, noting it does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
“Until we find a way to completely stop rape and incest, we cannot put barriers in place for those survivors to have the freedom to dictate their own futures,” Sen. Christine Marsh said.