Florida Senate Advances Bill to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks, Saving 5,000 Babies From Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 3, 2022   |   10:50AM   |   Tallahassee, Florida

The Florida Senate rejected more than a dozen amendments Wednesday that would have weakened a bill to protect unborn babies from abortions after 15 weeks.

Islander News reports a final vote on the pro-life Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act (House Bill 5) could happen Thursday. The bill already passed the House, and Gov. Ron DeSantis appears likely to sign it.

The legislation 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 disorder. It also includes measures to reduce infant mortality and a requirement that abortion facilities report suspected human trafficking cases to the state.

“Once a woman becomes pregnant, two uniquely independent human beings exist,” said state Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, the lead sponsor of the bill. “I’ve never understood the ‘my body, my choice’ rhetoric when it comes to terminating a life.”

Currently, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks in Florida. Pro-life leaders estimate the bill would save up to 5,000 unborn babies from abortion every year.

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats tried to weaken the bill with more than a dozen amendments, but none passed.

The AP reports Senate Democrat Leader Lauren Book proposed an amendment to allow unborn babies to be aborted later than 15 weeks if conceived in rape, incest or human trafficking.

“I’m appealing to your basic human dignity,” Book said.

ACTION ALERT: Help support this pro-life bill, please Contact Florida state senators.

But Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said 15 weeks is enough time for women to decide to have an abortion, according to the report.

Most countries in the world prohibit or strictly limit abortions after 15 weeks, including most European countries. The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions up to birth. Polls consistently show a strong majority of Americans support legal protections for unborn babies after the first trimester.

However, Florida abortion activists and many news outlets have been portraying the bill as extreme.

Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, an OB-GYN and abortionist in Sarasota, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the 15-week ban will make it more difficult for abortion patients.

“Most of the patients that come to see us are very firm in their decision,” Prabhakaran said. “But some of them need to talk with us about the process and procedure, and then need time to talk with their families … or just to consider it for themselves.”

Currently, Roe v. Wade forces states to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions up to viability. However, the Supreme Court heard a case about a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks in December, and a ruling is likely in June. Because of the conservative majority on the high court, many hope the justices will uphold the law and allow states to protect unborn babies again.

Meanwhile, Florida and a number of other states are working to pass 15-week bans and other legislation that they hope will protect unborn babies as soon as the Supreme Court rules.

Already, though, Florida abortion groups are making plans to challenge the law in court. Here’s more from the Sun Sentinel:

If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, advocates could still challenge Florida’s 15-week ban or other bans on the basis that these restrictions violate Florida’s state constitution and the right to privacy in medical decisions, said Kait Thomson, director of government relations and community engagement at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

Pro-life leaders estimate the bill could save as many as 5,000 unborn babies from abortions every year in Florida, and Grall expressed strong hopes that the Supreme Court soon will rule such legislation constitutional.

“There’s significant fetal development by the age of 15 weeks. But there is also a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, currently under consideration, at 15 weeks,” Grall said. “… working within that infrastructure of 15 weeks gives Florida its best opportunity to save a significant number of babies, very quickly, after the court’s decision.”

Since Roe in 1973, nearly 63.5 million unborn babies have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.

ACTION ALERT: Help support this pro-life bill, please Contact Florida state senators.