Miami, United States:
Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature on Thursday approved a ban on most abortions after six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant — a measure immediately assailed by the White House as “extreme and dangerous.”
The bill passed 70 votes to 40 in the state’s lower House — a week after approval in the Senate — and will be sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature.
It marked the second time in a year that the legislature in the southeastern US state voted to shorten the timeframe for a legal abortion. Last April, DeSantis signed a law reducing the window from 24 weeks to 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The White House slammed the move which it said “flies in the face of fundamental freedoms and is out of step with the views of the vast majority” of Americans.
“This ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The new bill establishes that women will not be able to have an abortion in Florida after six weeks of pregnancy unless the fetus is not viable, the pregnancy endangers the health of the mother, or is the result of rape or incest and does not exceed 15 weeks.
DeSantis, a rising star among Republicans, further burnishes his conservative credentials with the bill as he considers a run for his party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Even with DeSantis’s signature on the bill, it will not be enacted until the state Supreme Court rules on an appeal filed by several groups against the 15-week limit, arguing that the law violates a state privacy clause.
According to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, some 64 percent of Florida residents believe abortion should be permitted in most or all cases.
Even with the 15-week limit, Florida is one of the more permissive states in the southeastern US, and many women have traveled there from neighboring states to obtain abortions in recent months.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)