A proposed bill filed in the Florida Legislature would limit the time that a woman could obtain an abortion in Florida to the first six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions allowed in the case of rape or incest. 

Florida law currently bans abortions after 15 weeks.

What You Need To Know

  • Senate Bill 300 would further limit the timeline in which a woman may obtain an abortion in the state

  • It also includes exceptions to that rule, but those are still limited to 15 weeks

  • Democrats were quick to denounce the proposal

The bill, which is SB 300 and HB 7asserts that a physician "may not knowingly perform or induce a termination of pregnancy" after the fetus has reached a gestational age of 6 weeks.

There are exceptions to this proposal — the first would apply if the procedure is "necessary to save the pregnant woman's life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition."

Another exception provided for in the bill's language would allow an abortion if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, provided that the fetus is no older than 15 weeks, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

If someone breaks the proposed law, the punishment would be a third degree felony, unless the abortion results in the death of the woman, in which case it would be considered a second degree felony. 

In addition to further restricting the time that a woman may obtain an abortion, the provision also forbids state agencies or educational institutions from using state funds or resources to help a woman travel to another state to obtain an abortion. 

Democratic Rep. Anne Eskamani denounced the measure shortly after it was filed.

"Florida Republicans have once again demonstrated a complete disregard for the women of our state and for our collective freedoms," she said. "As we've already seen in other states, a six week ban is extreme, dangerous, and will force millions of people out of state to seek care and others will be forced into pregnancy. Most people do not even know they are pregnant until after six weeks, so this six week ban might as well be a complete ban."

The White House also responded to the proposal in a statement, saying: "Florida's proposed bill would ban abortion before many women know if they are pregnant, virtually eliminating a woman's right to make health care decisions about her own body. Politicians like Governor DeSantis espouse "freedom for all," while directly attacking the freedom to make one's own health care decisions. This proposal is wrong and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Floridians, who support a woman's right to choose."

The proposal has an altered timeline in which it would take effect. According to the text of the bill, the major provisions would become law 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court holds that the right to privacy doesn't include the right to abortion, if the Florida Constitution is amended to specify that abortion is not a right, or if any other favorable decision is reached in a number of ongoing cases related to the subject. 

The current law, which would be replaced in part by this proposed bill, called for a 15-week abortion ban. The law, which took effect July 1, 2022, contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking. Under current law, Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks.

A competing bill spondored by Democratic Sen. Lori Berman is also proposed that would call on the state to allow for abortions. 

"Each person has the fundamental rights to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization and to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to hvae an abortion," SB 1076 states. 

The proposal also states that any local or state government agency cannot discriminate or interfere against people who exercise the right. 

Democrats hold a minority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, meaning that the proposal is unlikely to go far.

Florida Abortion Bill by Phillip Stucky on Scribd