TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A bill banning abortions after six weeks had lawmakers locked in an embittered battle Thursday afternoon, as it clawed its way through its final legislative step and towards Governor Ron DeSantis.
SB 300/HB 7, sponsored by Sen. Erin Grall (R-Fort Pierce) and Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Myers), prohibits abortion access after six weeks. The legislation exempts rape, incest and human trafficking victims until 15 weeks, provided there is medical or court documentation.
“This bill values and protects life.” Rep. Persons-Mulicka summed up.
Rep. Kiyan Michael (R-Jacksonville) voiced her strong support: “At what point do lives matter? Do they not matter in the womb?” she questioned. “The right to choose happens before you have sex – not after. All lives matter, including those in the womb.”
“WE ARE IN A HEALTHCARE DESERT”
The bill did not pass easily, as Democratic Reps attempted a whopping 48 failed amendments over a three-hour period. They insisted the bill hurts and limits women and their reproductive rights, and requires serious change.
“You just don’t want women to have choice.” House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell stated. “This is a bill that restricts freedom, I want to be very clear about that.”
“We are attacking women with this legislation,” Rep. Ashley Gantt (D-Miami) agreed. “We are in a healthcare desert,” Rep. Allison Tant (D-Tallahassee) said.
Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Broward) echoed her colleagues, stating that “this bill will force more fatherless people.” She referenced Florida holding the second highest number of youth in foster care.
“FROM CONCEPTION TO THE CASKET”
The Republicans vehemently disagreed, standing firmly behind the legislation:
“I made a commitment as an elected official to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak for those who can’t physically speak for themselves,” Rep. Chase Tramont (R-Volusia) said. “Here we value life from conception to the casket.”
The Republicans exerted the full force of their 70 percent supermajority, propelling the legislation through and out of the House. It will now head to the governor to be signed into Florida law.