It’s becoming an increasingly terrifying time for abortion seekers (and those who know and care for them) in the U.S. Florida has just become the latest in a long line of states to follow Texas’s chilling example in drastically restricting abortion rights. Below, all the details on Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban (and find out what you can do about it):
What exactly is this new Florida bill?
On Thursday, March 3, Florida legislators voted to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in a bill modeled after a similar one in Mississippi that directly challenges Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that has long safeguarded pregnant individuals’ right to abortion. (Late last year the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the constitutionality of the Mississippi law was challenged. A decision is expected later this spring.) The bill’s next stop is the desk of Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who has already expressed his support for its contents. If the Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi law, it’s expected that this copycat law in Florida will also remain in effect.
How does this new bill differ from the current Florida policy around abortion?
As of now, abortion is legal in Florida up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and the new restrictions would shorten that time frame dramatically while providing no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It’s worth noting that abortions in Florida represent 8.2.% of all abortions in the U.S., with 73% of Florida counties already having zero clinics that provide abortions; if signed into law, this new bill would only decrease the already-imperiled reproductive options of pregnant people in Florida and the South.
What can I do to help pregnant people in Florida as they suffer through significant rollbacks on their reproductive freedom?
There are many on-the-ground organizations working to fund abortions and provide care and support for abortion seekers in Florida, including Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. If you can’t give directly, consider contacting DeSantis’s office to express your opposition to the 15-week ban.