Florida House approves ban on abortion for 15-week pregnancies

The Florida House of Representatives has approved a controversial 15-week abortion ban.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House of Representatives has approved a ban on abortion for women who have been pregnant for 15 weeks or longer — without exceptions for rape or incest.

The vote came overnight after hours of debate Wednesday and protests at the state capitol.

It now goes to the Senate, the last stop before the governor’s desk.

A full-term pregnancy is about 40 weeks. The Florida law as it stands bans abortions for women who have been pregnant for 24 weeks or longer.

Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, filed CS/HB 5: Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality on Jan. 11. After two subcommittees cleared it, a committee released it on Feb. 10. The House placed it on third reading on Tuesday and lawmakers were debating it on Wednesday before approving it overnight.

Protestors were bussed into Tallahassee and rallied against the proposed law outside the Florida Capitol Building, but inside, personal moments riveted the House.

South Florida state lawmaker Robin Bartleman recounted the fetal defect that forced a family decision, one that this bill’s 15-week limit would take away.

“No matter how severe an anomaly, when you get the terrible heartbreaking news, you don’t even have a decision. Florida has already taken it away,” she said.

The Florida Senate has a similar bill. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed SB 146: Fetal and Infant Mortality Reduction on Jan. 11. The health policy committee cleared it to the appropriations committee on Feb. 2.

Records show the organizations with registered lobbyists on the issue include Equality Florida, The Doctors Company, and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Republicans expect Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign it into law. The Florida bill abortion ban is similar to the Mississippi law that the U.S. Supreme Court justices are reviewing.

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.