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New Florida abortion bills would ban procedure after 15 weeks

The legislation was introduced on the first day of Florida's legislative session.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida Republican state lawmakers filed complementary bills Tuesday that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The legislation, House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 146, states "a physician may not perform a termination of pregnancy if the physician determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks." Both provide exceptions, including if the mother's health is at risk or if "the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality."

There is no exception for rape or incest.

Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, introduced the bills on the first day of Florida's legislative session. 

Abortion in Florida is legal up to 24 weeks into gestation and allowed thereafter only if it threatens a woman's life and physical health.

   

The lawmakers' bills follow legislation filed in September that was nearly identical to Texas' restrictive abortion bill that would make the procedure illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks. For many women, it's before they know they're pregnant.

Like the Texas law, anyone who helps someone get an abortion could be sued. House Bill 167, filed by Republican Rep. Webster Barnaby from Volusia County, last moved to a state subcommittee for consideration.

Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, D-Orlando, called last fall's bill "extreme anti-abortion legislation" and tweeted Tuesday, "Florida’s 15 week abortion ban has been filed — and of course they’re trying to brand it as NOT being an abortion ban. That’s because Republican members know that abortion bans are extreme and not supported by the majority of our state or country.  

"Be ready to fight."