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FL abortion providers prepare for 15 week ban to become law; expect women to seek abortions out of state

If it passed and is signed into law, it will take effect July 1st.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida's proposal to ban abortions after 15 weeks has pro-choice and pro-life supporters at odds.

"We are receiving calls from people in the community who are scared for themselves or for people they care about," said Terry Sallas Merritt, with a Woman's Choice in Jacksonville.

She's watching closely what happens with House Bill 5, allowing abortions after 15 weeks only if there is a fetal abnormality or for the health of the mother. 

She believes no matter the outcome, women will still seek abortions leading some to self-harm.

"You may try any number of methods on your own and damage your own health or you may see yourself having to travel far out of state," Merritt told First Coast News.

She says those trips could be to North Carolina, based on abortion laws being considered by Florida's border states.

One group in favor of the ban, Florida Voice for the Unborn, estimates 5,000 unborn children would be saved from abortions, if the bill is signed into law.

"From our perspective, pro-life laws save lives," said Andrew Shirvell. 

Shirvell says about three percent of abortions in the state happen after 15 weeks and he doesn't support talks of a mass exodus of women leaving the state to get an abortion.  "Most women, who unfortunately choose abortion, do so in the first trimester. So, I think this is scare mongering on the part of abortion advocates," he said.

The abortion ban will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday where it expected to pass before it goes to the full Senate where it is also expected to pass.

Gov. DeSantis says he is in favor of signing it.  If he does, it would go into effect July 1st. 

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