On Thursday, the Republican-controlled state legislature of Florida passed a comprehensive pro-life bill that would outlaw all abortions within the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
As reported by ABC News, the bill now heads to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), where he is likely to sign it.
When signed into law, the bill would override the current state law that allows abortions up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. The new bill does contain a handful of rare exceptions, including when abortion is necessary to prevent the mother from dying or suffering serious injuries, as well as whenever the fetus has a fatal abnormality that all but guarantees it will not survive if born.
During debate on the bill, several Republicans offered powerful emotional testimonies in favor of the bill, highlighting the cruelty of abortion. State Representative Dana Trabulsy (R-Fla.) admitted during debate that she had an abortion in the past, but has “regretted it every day since.”
“This is the right to life,” she continued, “and to give up life is unconscionable to me.”
Other Republicans pointed out that in more controversial cases of unwanted pregnancies, such as rape or incest, 15 weeks was still more than enough time for any woman to make a decision on the matter, and that the bill does not totally ban abortions outright.
“The only thing that we’re asking in this bill is that whatever decision you make, you do it before the 15 weeks,” said State Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Fla.).
Other states with Republican control of the legislature and governors’ offices have either introduced or passed similar pro-life bills; West Virginia and Arizona have seen such bills introduced in their respective legislatures, while Texas successfully passed a ban on all abortions after six weeks.
The increased passing of numerous pro-life bills come as the Supreme Court of the United States is currently reviewing a high-profile case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, out of Mississippi after the state passed a similar 15-week abortion ban back in 2018. The case, part of the Court’s 2021-2022 agenda and expected to be decided this summer, could very well overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized nationwide abortion in 1973.
If the Court does indeed overturn Roe, then it is widely expected to return the issue of abortion to the states to be decided on a state-by-state basis, rather than a national standard. The Court currently has a 6-3 majority of conservative justices, and is thus widely expected to roll back at least some of Roe’s precedent.