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Florida passes abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy
Florida passes abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy

Florida passes abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy

Following similar moves by Republican-led states across America, Florida's legislature has passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with only limited exceptions.

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The law, passed by Florida's Senate on Thursday, shortens the time allowed for abortions from 24 weeks of pregnancy to 15 weeks, with exceptions only for life-threatening risks to the mother or if the fetus has a fatal anomaly.

Democrats in the Florida legislature were unsuccessful in attempts to add amendments that would allow exceptions of rape or incest.

The law had already passed the Florida House of Representatives, so it now only needs the governor's signature.

Governor Ron DeSantis, a staunchly conservative Republican, has said he supports the bill.

President Joe Biden called the law "dangerous" in a tweet and said it "will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health care."

Advocates fear that the Florida law will reduce the availability of abortions in the entire southeast United States, as many people travel there due to restrictions in neighboring states.

"My Administration will not stand for the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights," the president, himself a devout Catholic, added.

Stephanie Fraim, the CEO of a Florida branch of the Planned Parenthood abortion rights organization, called the bill "cruel and careless," in a statement.

"Floridians want the freedom to make their own private medical decisions, not to be told what to do by politicians," she added.

The Florida law is similar to one in the nearby southern state of Mississippi, which is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Anti-abortion advocates hope the Supreme Court, which now has six conservative justices to only three liberals, will rule in favor of the Mississippi law.

In its decision, which should be published by the end of June, the court could decide to reinterpret or thrown out the landmark 1973 ruling in "Roe v. Wade," which provided a constitutional right to abortion.

Another abortion law being challenged in the Supreme Court is from the southern state of Texas, which created a ban on abortions at the time a heartbeat is detected -- usually around six weeks into a pregnancy, often before women even know they are pregnant.

While the Texas bill sets a much stricter ban than Mississippi or Florida, it also includes novel enforcement provisions, which the court might use to dodge more controversial abortion questions.