The Phoenix Flyer

Almost all FL abortions in 2020 were at 12 weeks or under; Hearing set Wednesday on 15-week ban

By: and - January 18, 2022 8:31 pm

Advocates for reproductive rights and some Florida lawmakers gather at the Old Capitol building steps to rally against limitations on abortion access. Sept. 21, 2021. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

The first legislative hearing on a proposed 15-week abortion ban in Florida is set for Wednesday, with new numbers showing that the vast majority of abortions in FL in 2020 were performed at 12 weeks or under.

The data came from a 17-page legislative analysis released Tuesday and is related to a scheduled hearing Wednesday afternoon, when the House Professions  & Public Health Subcommittee will address HB 5.

That bill would prohibit abortions “if the physician performing abortion determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks, based on the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period,” according to the analysis.

The bill is similar to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court following oral arguments in December.

The legislative analysis reports that in 2020, there were 209,645 live births in Florida. That same year, there were 74,868 abortions performed in Florida.

Of those abortions, the vast majority — 70,594 — were performed in the first trimester, meaning 12 weeks and under. Only 4,274 abortions were performed in the second trimester, meaning 13 to 24 weeks. No abortions were performed in the third trimester, according to the analysis.

The roster on the subcommittee on Wednesday is listed as 13 men and 5 women. Of the five women, four are Democrats and one, a Republican.

Several organizations on both sides of the debate are expected to be at the committee meeting Wednesday.

Annie Filkowski, legislative manager and deputy political director for Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said, “We will have planned parenthood…(members) speaking at the committee meeting, so they can hear the voice of the people who aren’t in favor of this terrible bill.”

The Florida Catholic Conference has said it supports HB 5.

With the anniversary Jan. 22 of the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case,  Floridians for Reproductive Freedom plan to host various events statewide on Saturday.

Clarification: The Phoenix used a legislative analysis  Jan. 18 that provided an incorrect number for abortions in Florida in 2020. The Legislature provided a new analysis on the evening of Jan. 19, using the correct number — 74,868. The Phoenix has made the change in the story.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.