Florida Senate Committee Passes Pro-Life Bill to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 2, 2022   |   5:56PM   |   Tallahassee, Florida

A Florida Senate committee advanced legislation Wednesday that could save thousands of unborn babies every year by banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Florida Politics reports the state Senate Health and Policy Committee rejected an amendment by pro-abortion Democrats before approving the Fetal and Infant Mortality Reduction Act (Senate Bill 146) in a 6-4 party-line vote.

Sponsored by state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, the bill would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk or the unborn baby has a fatal condition. It also includes measures to reduce infant mortality and a requirement that abortion facilities report suspected human trafficking cases to state authorities.

“This bill safeguards innocent, unborn children with beating hearts, who can move, taste, see, feel pain, and whose lives should be protected under the laws of this state,” Stargel said.

Senate Democrat Leader Lauren Book, D-Broward County, tried to amend the bill to include exceptions for victims of rape, incest or human trafficking, but the amendment did not pass, according to the report.

Andrew Shirvell, J.D., executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, who testified during the meeting, said a child’s life is valuable no matter how he or she is conceived.

“… children conceived as a result of rape, incest or a human trafficking situation needed to be protected,” Shirvell told LifeNews in a statement after the meeting. “These children – like all children – are made in the image and likeness of our Creator and should not be brutally executed via abortion due to the crimes of their fathers. Thankfully, a majority of committee members defeated Senator Book’s amendment in a voice vote.”

TAKE ACTION: Contact Florida state lawmakers to urge support for this pro-life bill.

During the meeting, Book slammed the pro-life bill as “dangerous” for women, saying, “This will harm women and is taking away our choice and our ability to have autonomy over our bodies.”

But Shirvell estimated the bill will save about 5,000 unborn babies from being killed in abortions every year.

Right now, abortions are legal for any reason up to 24 weeks in Florida.

“The problem this bill solves is that Florida has become a late-term abortion destination state … we’re not just known for our theme parks,” said John Stemberger of the pro-life Florida Family Council, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Stemberger said most Floridians, including many who lean pro-choice, oppose late-term abortions. Polls consistently show strong public support for banning abortion after the first trimester.

According to the Democrat:

A legislative staff analysis said that in 2020, “there were 209,645 live births in Florida. In the same year, there were 72,073 abortion procedures performed in the state.”

Of those, 70,594 — or nearly 98 percent — “were performed in the first trimester (12 weeks and under); 4,274 were performed in the second trimester (13 to 24 weeks); and none were performed in the third trimester (25 weeks and over),” according to the analysis.

The bill has a good chance of passing the Republican-controlled state legislature, and Gov. Ron DeSantis recently “welcomed” pro-life legislation.

The 15-week abortion ban is modeled after a Mississippi law that the U.S. Supreme Court currently is considering. Many hope the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, will prompt the justices overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.

Currently, states are prohibited from banning abortions before viability, about 22 weeks of pregnancy.

A companion bill also advanced in the state House last week.

TAKE ACTION: Contact Florida state lawmakers to urge support for this pro-life bill.