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Tipsheet

Florida Introduces 'Heartbeat Bill' to Ban Abortions at 6 Weeks

AP Photo/Rebecca Santana

Republicans in the Florida House and Senate filed a bill that would virtually ban all abortions across the state. 

Filed by Fort Pierce Republican Sen. Erin Grall, SB 300 would ban doctors from knowingly performing or inducing a termination of pregnancy after the sixth week of gestation.

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The “Heartbeat bill” would prohibit a woman from receiving an abortion right around the time the baby’s heartbeat can first be detected, with the exception of saving the life of the mother, fatal fetal abnormality in a pregnancy that has not progressed to the third trimester, and in the case of rape or incest before 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Florida already has a 15-week abortion ban that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) signed last year. However, he signaled that he would support a six-week limit on the procedure. 

“We’re pro-life. I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff, and we will sign,” DeSantis said last month, adding that he is “willing to sign great life legislation. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” 

The 15-week ban made no exception for rape or incest, with DeSantis arguing that it was “very reasonable.” 

The Florida Supreme Court is considering a legal challenge to the state’s 15-week ban, arguing that it violates the Florida Constitution’s privacy clause.

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The Biden White House condemned the six-week proposal saying it would “jeopardize access not just in Florida but across the South where many states already have severe restrictions on abortion or outright bans. Florida law currently allows abortion up to the 15th week of pregnancy.” 

“This ban would prevent not just the nearly 4 million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks, but would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in states across the South with abortion bans and would no longer be able to rely on Florida as an option to access care,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. 

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