Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Thursday signed a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy into law.
Senate Bill 300, known as the Heartbeat Protection Act, reduced Florida’s abortion window from 15 weeks down to six weeks into a pregnancy. The law contains exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking within 15 weeks of gestation. There are also exceptions if the fetus has abnormalities or if two doctors certify the physical health of the mother is at risk. However, the law explicitly states that psychological conditions do not weigh in favor of abortion after six weeks.
DeSantis’ office released a statement in support of the law saying “While other states like California and New York have legalized infanticide up until birth, Governor DeSantis has enacted historic measures to defend the dignity of human life and transform Florida into a pro-family state.”
In January the Florida Supreme Court agreed to decide on whether the state’s current 15-week ban is constitutional. Thus, the new six-week ban will only go into effect if the former ban is deemed constitutional. Given that the Florida Supreme Court has a majority of conservative justices, it is likely the new ban will go into effect at some point.
Opponents criticized the passage of the bill, with Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book telling the bill’s supporters “You don’t care about privacy, or medicine – or science – or truth – or even freedom because you are choosing to give sacs of cells more rights than living, breathing women and girls.” Others raised concern over the disregard for psychological conditions, as one study showed a relationship between carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term and negative mental health outcomes later in life.
The Florida House passed the bill with a vote of 70 to 40, while the Florida Senate passed it with a vote of 26 to 13.
This comes at the same time as the US Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to restore access to the abortion pill mifepristone after the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit limited its usage.