Will FL have a special session on abortion? The state already has a 15-week ban effective July 1

With Roe v. Wade overturned, how will the FL Legislature respond?

By: - June 24, 2022 12:11 pm

Abortion rights protesters gather in front of the Florida Supreme Court on May 3, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Florida’s new 15-week abortion law will go into effect a week from today.

But with the Friday decision from the U.S. Supreme Court bringing abortion decisions to state legislators, the Florida House and Senate may — or may not — convene once again for a special session to further restrict, or even ban, abortion access to Floridians.

At the moment, it is unclear.

Shortly after the decision was released, Senate President Wilton Simpson released a statement in favor of the decision but did not indicate whether he is interested in a special session.

But some anti-abortion advocates are antsy to get another special session going for the purpose of banning the medical procedure completely.

Andrew Shirvell of Florida Voice for the Unborn speaks at an anti-abortion rally on the steps of the Historic Florida Capitol Building May 24, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Anti-abortion group Florida Voice for the Unborn is calling for an “an immediate Special Legislative Session to consider a complete statutory ban on all abortions in Florida,” according to a written statement Friday.

The Phoenix has reached out to both the Florida House and Senate on whether the Legislature is planning a special session and is awaiting a response.

Meanwhile, the start of a statewide abortion ban on pregnancies past 15-weeks is looming closer.

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the 15-week abortion ban, HB 5 Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality, on April 15, to take effect on July 1.

Soon, physicians will not be allowed to perform an abortion if the physicians determine the gestational age of the fetus to be more than 15 weeks.

There are a few exceptions in the new Florida law. An abortion can be performed past the 15-week mark if it is determined that the pregnant person’s life is at risk or if the fetus as a fetal abnormality. The bill was inspired by the Mississippi abortion case that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on this Friday.

Florida’s bill was sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, a Republican who represents Indian River County and part of St. Lucie County. She also previously sponsored another abortion restricting bill that required parental consent for a minor to receive an abortion.

That said, lawmakers have expressed interest in restricting abortion access further.

During the 2022 legislative session, Rep. Webster Barnaby sponsored a Texas-styled abortion bill that would have prohibited abortions after about six weeks and relied on civil lawsuits for enforcement.

Barnaby represents part of Volusia County, and while his bill did not get traction during the 2022 session, in May he promised a crowd of anti-abortion protesters that he would be the legislator “that will ban abortion for life.”

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.