Florida’s state House on Thursday passed a Republican-sponsored bill that would prohibit abortion in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing only for exceptions involving “serious risk” to the pregnant person and fatal fetal abnormality, but with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The bill now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate, before it is sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who had previously indicated support for such legislation restricting abortion.
The bill comes as the US Supreme Court appears poised to uphold a similar Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks. The fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, also hangs in the balance, and anti-abortion activists are hopeful that the court’s conservative majority will strike it down.
Florida law currently bans abortions in the third trimester. It allows exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert “serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment” to a pregnant woman.
Florida House Bill 5 would keep those exemptions and add another: if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
The legislation was passed on a near party-line vote just after midnight Thursday, following hours-long debate on the House floor that started Wednesday afternoon, and despite much objection from Democrats. Only two lawmakers broke party rank. The more than a dozen amendments proposed by Democrats, including an amendment that would provide an exception for rape and incest, all failed.
Later Thursday, the bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
DeSantis had previously signaled his support for lawmakers to restrict access to abortion.
Last month, the day that GOP lawmakers filed the bill, DeSantis told reporters that he’d welcome “pro-life legislation” and that “having protections is something that makes a lot of sense,” when asked about a 15-week ban.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund slammed Florida lawmakers for passing the legislation “in the dead of night and without the public present.”
“This vote is disrespectful and cruel to all Floridians. Stripping people of the freedom to make the best medical decision for themselves and their families is wrong, and our elected representatives should know better,” Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement. “This isn’t what the people of Florida want.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund also said that the effects of the legislation “will fall hardest on Black and Latino Floridians,” who are “disproportionately more likely to have low incomes, live in rural areas, and lack access to health care.”
Priests for Life, a national organization based in Florida and against abortion, applauded the House for passing the bill and said it looks forward to the Senate doing the same.
“This bill does not, unfortunately, eliminate abortion, but it does recognize the unmistakable humanity of these children. Lives will be saved, and that can only be a good thing,” Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, said in a statement.
CNN’s Steve Contorno contributed to this report.