TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has moved forward in Florida after it passed a second House committee Thursday, along party lines.

What You Need To Know

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve the measure on Thursday, sending the bill along. The next step in the House is a floor vote and reading. 

The senate version of the bill passed the Fiscal Policy committee vote on Tuesday with a vote of 12 in favor and 7 oppoosed. It was passed by the Health Policy committee last week. 

It's been placed on the Special Order Calendar, which will enable senate leadership to schedule debate and a vote on the Senate Floor as the bill's next stop on its way to the governor's desk. 

The House version of the bill passed the Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee and was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee. It was recently added to the committee agenda, which means that it will be considered soon. 

Florida law currently bans abortions after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape and incest. The new expanded proposal would allow those exceptions.

Under SB 300 and HB 7, a physician “may not knowingly perform or induce a termination of pregnancy" after the fetus has reached a gestational age of 6 weeks.

“It’s a bill that recognizes the importance and value of the life of innocent, unborn human beings,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jenna Persons (R-Fort Myers).

One exception to the ban is 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. 

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, while also banning telehealth and abortion medication via mail.

“We talk about being a free state and this is literally the antithesis of that,” Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland) said.

The bill, which may have broader implications that Florida, is slated for one more committee before going to the Senate floor.

Florida is considered an abortion destination in the south given the state’s comparatively softer laws. However, that could change if this bill is passed.