Florida House passes bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A proposal to ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy has passed the Florida House.

After several hours of debate, lawmakers voted just after the clock struck midnight.

A Senate committee could take up the bill as early as next week.

If it becomes law, women would have 15 weeks to terminate a pregnancy, instead of 24 weeks.

The bill is one of the most hotly debated issues of the 2022 legislative session.

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Activists broke out into a chant inside the House gallery in Tallahassee, voicing their opposition of the bill.

“I just don’t understand how exceptions for rape, incest, human trafficking is something this body cannot support in a bipartisan fashion,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani.

“For many in this room, abortion is the taking of a life, and that is where I stand,” said Rep. Colleen Burton.

The Republican-controlled House passed the controversial bill in a 78 to 39 vote.

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The bill includes exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, prevent serious injury to the mother or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously signaled his support for the proposal.

Action News Jax received statements from two candidates for the governor of Florida:

“Governor DeSantis loves to say that Florida is a ‘free state,’ but this extreme bill would take away women’s freedom to make decisions about our bodies and our futures – even in cases of rape or incest. It’s yet another dangerous, authoritarian power grab by Florida Republicans and a disgusting insult to the dignity of women across Florida. We will fight this every step of the way,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“In the middle of the night, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s allies in the Florida statehouse passed a disgraceful and reckless ban on a woman’s right to choose after 15 weeks — without exemptions for rape or incest. We know Gov. DeSantis supports this bill and will sign it if it reaches his desk. That’s why I’m calling on the Florida Senate to reject this bill attacking women and their reproductive freedom. Senators, vote with the majority of Floridians who support a woman’s right to choose, " Representative Charlie Crist said.