TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Following a contentious hearing with outbursts serious enough to prompt leaders to shut down the gallery, lawmakers in the Florida Senate voted Monday to approve a bill that would ban abortions in Florida after six weeks.
The bill passed 26 to 13, with all Democrats voting against the measure.
In the House, companion bill HB 7 was added to the House calendar last week and is expected to be taken up in the lower chamber. If approved, the bill would be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.
Senate Bill 300 would move up the ban from the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last year. The current legislation includes some exceptions for rape or incest.
What You Need To Know
- The Florida Senate voted Monday to approve a bill that would ban abortions in the state after six weeks
- A vote on a companion bill in the House is expected to take place soon
- Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban last year
- The current legislation includes some exceptions for rape or incest
The bill has sparked debate from supporters and opponents. On Sunday, a small group opposing the measure met outside Orlando City Hall, saying it could put women at risk because they might attempt unsafe abortions.
“We are standing for people that live here and that don’t live here," said Seneca Bristol, with Women's Voices of Southwest Florida's youth chapter. "We are standing for everybody. To have our voices heard is really important."
The legislation would also ban abortion pills obtained by mail or telehealth.
““For 50 years, the killing of innocent children has been legal," said Florida Sen. Erin Grall (R-District 29 in Fort Pierce), who sponsored the bill. "Legal does not equate to right. Whereas children were never given the opportunity to walk into this capitol and fight for their right to life, we are here and able to do that for them.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lauren Book (D-Distict 32 in Broward County) said that the bill takes away the ability for women to make decisions about their lives and bodies.
"This is big government telling women, girls and survivors of sexual assault that politicians know better than them, than their doctor, than their family, than their faith,” she said.
She also argued Monday that the bill gives more rights to a fetus than the woman carrying it.
“You don’t carry about privacy, medicine or science or truth or even freedom because you’re choosing to give sacks of cells — a yolk as Sen. (Tina) Polsky pointed out — more rights than living, breathing women and girls in this state,” Book said.
According to data from the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration, Florida recorded more than 82,000 abortions in 2022, a 14-year high.