The Florida state Senate is poised to vote on the "heartbeat" abortion bill, after the six-week ban on most abortions cleared its final hurdle in committee.
SB 300 was placed on the state Senate's special order calendar for Thursday and, according to Florida Politics, may be voted on that same day.
Filed by Florida state Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, the measure would ban doctors from knowingly performing or inducing an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. This would be a change from the state's current 15-week abortion ban, which lawmakers had touted as a fair compromise when it was passed last year.
The bill would allow abortion up to the 15th week of gestation if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, however.
"We have an unprecedented opportunity as lawmakers to protect innocent life," Grall said when introducing the measure, according to Florida Politics. She added that the bill would make Florida a "beacon of hope for those who understand that life must be protected."
Other exceptions to the six-week ban would apply under the proposed law, as well. If two doctors judge the pregnant woman to be in danger of dying or suffering "substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function ... other than a psychological condition," she could have an abortion. In the absence of a second doctor, one doctor's recommendation would suffice.
If a "fatal abnormality" were detected in the fetus within the first two trimesters, an abortion would be allowed under the measure.
Despite being outnumbered in the Florida Senate's Fiscal Policy committee, Democrats had plenty to say about the Republican bill, according to Florida Politics.
"There is no justification in my opinion for this ban," state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, said. "This bill, as we've heard, is a near total abortion ban."
"Abortion is healthcare, and I think we can all agree on that," state Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Hollywood, said, before noting there had been a "rollback" of abortion rights in the past 10 years that had been moving toward a "total ban."
"Whatever we do here today, abortions will still happen," Jones added.
The legislation may find staunch support in the executive branch, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said last year that he was "willing to sign" such a bill. He maintained his openness to anti-abortion measures when speaking to reporters in Tallahassee on Tuesday.
"Exceptions are sensible," the Republican governor reportedly said. "And like I said, we welcome pro-life legislation."
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