The Florida legislature has advanced a proposed 6-week abortion ban that would effectively eliminate a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy at a critical stage of fetal development.
The legislation, which passed through the state’s Senate Rules Committee Wednesday, would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs at six weeks of pregnancy. The bill, if signed into law, would be one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country and could imperil a woman’s right to choose, as outlined in Roe v. Wade.
Opponents of the proposed ban contend that it is unconstitutional and would criminalize abortions prior to the point at which many women realize they are pregnant. Supporters of the bill, however, argue that it would protect the lives of unborn children.
The legislation has been widely denounced by reproductive rights advocates, who note that the ban could block women from accessing care before they are even aware they are pregnant. Furthermore, they argue that the measure would impose criminal penalties on both the woman and the doctor providing the care.
The bill, which passed the Senate Rules Committee with a 5-4 vote, now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it is expected to face further resistance. If it passes there, the legislation will be up for a vote in the Florida House and Senate.
Despite the opposition, the bill’s supporters remain confident of its chances, saying that the legislation is necessary to protect the unborn. With Florida’s GOP-led legislature, it is likely that the proposed ban will become law.