15-week abortion ban getting closer to passage in the FL Senate

By: - March 2, 2022 6:33 pm

State Sen. Kelli Stargel , Senate bill sponsor of the 15 -week abortion ban. Credit: Florida Channel

Democrats’ attempts to make changes to a 15-week abortion ban failed Wednesday in the Florida Senate, and the legislation, HB 5, is expected to be up for debate and potentially a vote on Thursday.

Senators filed up to 15 amendments on the bill, mostly about health care for women who need abortions, among other concerns.

State Sen. Lauren Book, the Senate Democratic leader, asked colleagues to consider that the ban lacks protections for survivors of rape and incest — Book also shared her story of being sexually assaulted.

“This isn’t about my story. This is for the six thousand girls in our state that suffer from sexual abuse before they are 18,” Book said. But her amendment failed.

State Sen. Lori Berman, who represents part of Palm Beach County, questioned Stargel on why she picked 15 weeks for the abortion ban.

Republican State Sen. Kelli Stargel, the sponsor of the bill, offered two reasons for the 15 weeks: She said evidence that fetuses are capable of feeling pain at that point, and the fact that Mississippi’s 15-week ban is under review at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices heard arguments in that case in early December and their new conservative majority appeared sympathetic to Mississippi’s position.

The same court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion plan, enforced by private lawsuits against people facilitating abortions, to take effect even before ruling on its merits.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that the right to privacy under the Florida Constitution was broad enough to invalidate a law requiring parental consent for minors to undergo abortions.

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