Lawmakers joined abortion-rights supporters at the Old Capitol on Jan. 12, 2022. Credit: Imani Thomas
After weeks of speeches and raucous protests, numerous votes in legislative committees and a full vote in the state House, Florida is at the endpoint for a decision on a 15-week abortion ban that doesn’t include rape, incest and human trafficking.
The Florida Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on HB 5, which was the original House version that was filed on the first day of the 2022 legislative session on Jan. 11.
At that time, the U.S. Supreme Court had already been focusing on the abortion front across the nation, with the 15-week Mississippi ban still under review.
On Wednesday, several women lawmakers in the Senate will be expected to push for changes in the abortion ban bill. In particular, Sen. Lauren Book, the Senate Minority Leader, filed an amendment Tuesday to allow women to have abortions if their pregnancies are the result of rape, incest or human trafficking.
Republican Kathleen Passidomo, the Senate Rules chair and next in the line to be the Senate President, said she previously had been supportive about adding in rape, incest and human trafficking in the bill, but later went along with her GOP colleagues on the vote.
Over the course of the session, abortion advocates, anti-abortion groups, patients, providers, doctors, Democratic lawmakers, Planned Parenthood and Floridians came to the Capitol to make their voices heard on this extraordinary and controversial legislation.
The Florida Senate is the last stop for this legislation. If the Senate votes yes, the bill will go to Gov. Ron DeSantis for consideration.
HB 5 and the Senate version, SB 146, would eliminate access to abortion after 15 weeks in the state of Florida and force thousands of Floridians to travel out-of-state for care.
For some Floridians, this may preclude access altogether, forcing them to remain pregnant.
In other states, Republican legislators are pushing the same agenda, to create new abortion bans or to make abortion illegal. More than half of the states are certain or likely to go forth with an abortion ban, according to a recent Democratic virtual press conference.
In addition to Mississippi, Texas has one of the most restrictive bans in the nation.
Prior to the state Senate’s session on Wednesday, abortion rights advocates will be at the rotunda on the Senate side in Tallahassee at 8:30 a.m. There will be several speakers, including Democratic lawmakers and abortion providers.
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