Florida Republican Lawmakers Seek New Stricter Six-Week Abortion Ban

Florida is looking to enact its own six-week abortion ban. 

Republican lawmakers in Florida filed bills on Tuesday to outlaw most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. 

The ban would severely undercut access to the procedure in the South if passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

The bills make exceptions for rape and incest cases but not explicitly for the life or health of the pregnant person. They were filed on the opening day of the Florida legislature’s 2023 regular session. It included a basket of far-right legislation. 

Florida Republicans are planning a broad rightwing legislative push, including new restrictions on gender identification, diversity, and equity programs, abortion and press freedoms, and further relaxation of concealed weapons laws and the ability of courts to impose death sentences.

Abortion bans in Florida would hurt women in the Southeast, who have been traveling to Florida across state lines to end pregnancies. Last year Florida brought in a ban at 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. But they have been signaling ever since they did not think it was strict enough. 

More than a dozen states have banned the procedure almost entirely since that landmark ruling.

Six-week bans are among the most sweeping. At six weeks, most women do not even know they are pregnant. Therefore bans at six weeks practically ban all abortions. 

Women’s rights experts and reproductive experts have condemned Florida’s new bills. 

Other laws set to be pushed in Florida include allowing concealed weapons without a permit or training, a ban on diversity and equity programs at state universities, new abortion restrictions, rolling back press freedoms, and allowing courts to pass a death sentence without a unanimous jury verdict.

The abortion proposal is a clear signal that DeSantis will support hard-right conservative priorities ahead of his likely 2024 election bid. 

Florida, once a perennial swing state, has shifted Republican in recent years and the governor has capitalized on the GOP electoral successes by supporting legislation that cracks down on illegal immigration, bans Florida Medicaid from paying for gender-affirming care, and limits how race and gender identity can be taught in schools.

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