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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign 15-week abortion ban in 'short order'

Controversial measure is 'warranted,' DeSantis says in Jacksonville
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Jacksonville on March 4, 2022.jpg
Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 13:47:37-05

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida's governor said Friday that newly passed legislation which bans abortions in the Sunshine State after 15 weeks of pregnancy is "warranted," and he plans to sign the measure into law in "short order."

Late Thursday, the state Senate passed the controversial HB 5, officially called the "Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality" bill.

Currently, women in Florida cannot legally receive an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy. The new legislation shortens that time period by nine weeks.

"This is a late-term," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday during a news conference in Jacksonville. "These are protections for babies that have heartbeats, that can feel pain. And this is very, very late."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about 15-week abortion ban

The only exceptions to the 15-week abortion ban are if the abortion is necessary to save a mother's life, prevent serious injury to the mother, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

Democrats in the Florida Legislature had fought to add rape, incest, and human trafficking to the list of exemptions, but their efforts failed.

"If a woman needs to make a decision that is right for her, let her be," said State Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton.

Speaking in Jacksonville on Friday, DeSantis said he supports the bill as-is.

"I think the protections are warranted, and I think we'll be able to sign that in short order," DeSantis said.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson called the passage a "great day" and said now is the time to act as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the legality of a similar law in Mississippi. 

"We are giving 15 weeks as a state, and the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe, will uphold that," Simpson said. "There are all options on the table until 15 weeks."

The new law will go into effect on July 1, but the fight will likely not be over as many opponents are already weighing court challenges

"We're running a 100,000 ad buy, encouraging him to veto the bill," said Annie Filkowski with the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. "I will say, it's widely unpopular."

"There's obviously different legal cases that are out there that could potentially shed some light as well by July 1," DeSantis said Friday.