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Health News Florida

A bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks heads for a Senate vote

Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami
News Service of Florida
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Sen. Annette Tadeo, D-Miami, proposed an amendment that would do away with the second-opinion requirement, but it was voted down.

Republican senators rejected a series of amendments that Democrats proposed during hours of debate on Wednesday.

Replucan lawmakers on the Senate floor rejected a dozen amendments Wednesday on a bill that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

The measure, which has already passed in the House, is scheduled for a Senate vote Thursday.

“These are babies. It’s an individual inside that woman that has a separate DNA, a separate body, a separate person,” Senate bill sponsor Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said. “And the question we’re asking ourself is, when does that baby in the womb have the same rights as the mother that’s carrying it with that right to be able to live and to thrive and to grow?”

The measure has a few exemptions, including allowing an abortion after that time frame if it's medically required to save the pregnant person’s life or to prevent serious harm. But that requires a second opinion from another doctor.

Sen. Annette Tadeo, D-Miami, proposed an amendment that would do away with the second-opinion requirement. Sen. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, said getting an appointment with only one doctor can be hard for her constituents.

“I represent 10 rural counties where there is not one single OB-GYN in the county, so this presents a very undue burden for those living in rural communities," Ausley said.

Lawmakers also heard an amendment that would have created an exemption for survivors of rape, incest and human trafficking - allowing them to seek an abortion after 15 weeks.

None of the proposed amendments put forward by Democrats passed.

If the Senate passes the bill, it would go to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has indicated he supports a 15-week limit.

Lawmakers on both sides of the issue also are closely watching a U.S. Supreme Court case about the constitutionality of Mississippi law that similarly restrics abortions to 15 weeks. The case is widely seen as a challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights.

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