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Florida enacts abortion ban after 15 weeks

The move comes as the Supreme Court gets set to rule on the future of abortion in the country very soon.

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On Thursday, April 14, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law an intense anti-abortion measure that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy without exemptions for sexual assault, incest or human trafficking.

The legislation, which will go into effect on July 1, does allow exceptions in cases where a pregnant person’s life is at risk or if a fetal abnormality is detected and two physicians confirm this in writing.

This bill makes Florida the latest-Republican led state to advance a 15-week abortion ban this session. On Tuesday, April 12, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt made performing an abortion illegal, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency. 

The following day, the Kentucky legislature overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

Along with all the anti-abortion bills gaining traction across the nation, the longevity of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is in serious jeopardy. 

The high court appears ready to uphold the Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, and Roe V. Wade is also hanging in the balance. The now conservative-majority group of judges has given hope to pro-life activists. 

Before DeSantis signed the law, the Sunshine State allowed abortions through the second trimester of a pregnancy, making it one of the most permissive states in the southeast. 

Because of this, many women from neighboring states would travel to Florida for the procedure, and many abotion advocates say that the changes to state law will have repercussions throughout the entire region. 

“We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves. This will represent the most significant protections for life that we have seen in a generation,” DeSantis said Thursday at a news conference on in Kissimmee, surrounded by female lawmakers, pro-life advocates, and children. 

The law comes just days after a Tallahassee circuit court judge ruled that the state can require a 24-hour waiting period to get the procedure, ending a seven-year legal battle. 

When the state Senate passed the bill 23-15 on March 15, Democratic lawmakers, many of whom shared painful stories of women who chose to abort a pregnancy after experiencing trauma, were devastated. 

State Sen. Lauren Book, argued for an amendment that would allow an exemption for women who became pregnant as a result of sexual violence. 

Book, who is a victim of sexual assault herself, broke down in tears on the floor when the proposed change was rejected by the Republican-majority chamber. 

Florida Democrats who fought relentlessly to add a sexual violence exemption to the ban are beyond disappointed and frustrated with the state’s decision.

In a statement released on Thursday, Sen. Book said that DeSantis has robbed women of their constitutional rights to reproductive autonomy.

“Sentencing victims of rape, incest, and trafficking to carry an unwanted pregnancy resulting from their assault is cruel and unusual punishment which does nothing except bludgeon the rights and well-being of women,” Book said, adding that Flordia will never be “free” as long as its lawmakers turn their backs on the rights of women and of victims of violence. 

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