On Jan. 12, 2022, the first day of Florida’s 2022 legislative session, Senator Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland and Representative Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, filed bills banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Proposing a 15-week ban violates the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1973 court case, Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as legal up to 24 weeks, as long as the fetus is viable. The Florida bill takes inspiration from the supreme court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, when Mississippi also challenged Roe v. Wade, attempting to pass a law banning abortions after 15 weeks.
Currently, Florida law places abortion as legal up until the third trimester of pregnancy. Senate Bill 146 and House Bill 5 would ban abortion after 15 weeks. The bill includes instances of rape and incest, and the only exceptions to the bill are a health risk to the mother and a “fatal fetal abnormality.” The bill also states that abortion providers should submit a documented number of abortions done per month to the Agency for Health Care Administration.
In the past, there have been other bills proposed in Florida to restrict abortions. In Sept. 2021, “the heartbeat act,” was proposed, which attempted to outlaw abortions from detection of the first heartbeat — as early as six weeks — and suing anyone who aides in providing the abortion.
During the 60-day legislative session, committees will consider these bills along with others. With past restrictive abortion laws passed in the country, Republicans in Congress are positive that the bill may pass. Democrats, who stand in the minority, continue to challenge this bill in favor of pro-choice ideals.
Abortion laws have long caused political conflict and split and may continue as these bills have set the starting point for larger abortion laws in congress.