Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs bill banning abortion for 15 weeks

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban on Thursday as the state joined a growing conservative push to restrict access ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could limit the procedure to the national level.

The new law is a blow to abortion access in the South, where Florida has provided greater access to the procedure than its regional neighbors.

The new law, which comes into force on July 1, contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, avoid serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions in cases where the pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking. Under current law, Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks.

“This will represent the most important protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation,” DeSantis said as he signed the bill to the “Nación de Fe” (“Nation of Faith”), a church city ​​evangelist. of Kissimmee that serves members of the Latino population.

DeSantis, a rising Republican star and potential 2024 presidential candidate, signed the measure after several women gave speeches about how they chose not to have abortions or, in the case of one, regretted having done so.

Some of those present, including young children, stood behind the speakers holding signs that read “Choose life”, while those who spoke stood at a podium on which was affixed a sign displaying the a baby’s feet and a heartbeat indicating “Protect life”. “

Debate over the proposal has become deeply personal and revelatory in the Florida legislature, with lawmakers recalling their own abortions and sexual assault experiences in often tearful speeches in the House and Senate.

Elsewhere in the United States, Republican lawmakers have introduced new abortion restrictions, some similar to a Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks and leaves enforcement to private citizens, which the state Supreme Court United decided to leave up.

Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed a bill to make performing an abortion a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation in March banning abortion after 15 weeks if the US Supreme Court leaves the Mississippi law in place.

If Roe is overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to quickly ban or severely restrict abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports abortion rights. When debating Florida’s legislation, Republicans said they want the state to be in a good position to limit access to abortions if the US Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi law.

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