Changes could be coming to Florida’s abortion laws after the incoming senate president, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, said she would like to see Florida’s abortion ban go from 15 weeks’ gestation to 12 weeks’ gestation.
The state of Florida banned abortion in 1900, but that ban was overturned in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case. That ruling itself was overturned by the Supreme Court in June. Anticipating that decision, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved to ban abortions from 15 weeks’ gestation, with the law making no exceptions for cases pertaining to rape and incest.
At the signing of the bill, DeSantis said, “House Bill 5 protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain. Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation, which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history.”
Abortion changes had already happened in June 2020 when DeSantis signed a law that states minors must provide written permission from a parent or guardian to have an abortion.
Founder and executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, Andrew Shirvell, told The Center Square that lowering the ban from 15 weeks to 12 will not change abortion rates in Florida, as most abortions are sought before then.
“The vast majority of abortions in Florida take place prior to 12 weeks’ gestation. Accordingly, a new Florida law banning abortions after 12 weeks’ gestation – as opposed to 15 weeks’ gestation – would do almost nothing to curb Florida’s horrendous abortion rate,” Shirvell said. “Moreover, permitting an unborn child to be killed via abortion after 12 weeks’ gestation, if the child was conceived as a result of rape or incest – as Senator Passidomo apparently wants to do – is a step backwards, since the 15-week abortion ban does not allow for those so-called ‘exceptions.'”
Shirvell added there should be no reason why Florida couldn’t completely ban abortion since Roe is now overturned.
“Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, enacting a 12-week abortion ban might have made sense. Such incremental measures, including ‘Heartbeat’ laws prohibiting abortions after six weeks’ gestation, were designed, in part, to challenge Roe. Now that Roe has been overturned, Florida and her sister states have been given the green light to completely protect all unborn children from conception,” Shirvell added.
Nearly a dozen Republican-controlled states have done that already. he noted.
The new speaker of the Florida House, Palm Coast Republican Paul Renner, said that the Republican supermajority in Florida will likely lead to more pro-life legislation in the future.
“I want to see us move in a pro-life direction, but I’m also sensitive to the fact that 50 years of Roe v. Wade has developed a culture and an expectation around this issue that is not going to change overnight, and I say that as some who believes that life begins at conception,” Renner said during his first on-camera appearance since becoming speaker.
“We have 85 members, we have supermajorities in the House and Senate, and I can tell you they are pro-life majorities, I’m pro-life, I’d like to see us move in a pro-life direction,” Renner said. “I think we need to look at how we can balance some of those interests, and so we will take a look at where everybody is in the caucus.”