Florida Inches Closer to 6-Week Abortion Ban

A Republican-dominated committee in the Florida State House voted to advance a six-week abortion ban on Thursday, although the state’s current 15-week ban is still being decided in state court.

All 13 GOP members of the Healthcare Regulation subcommittee voted in favor of the proposed House Bill 7, filed in Florida’s House this month. The bill would prohibit physicians from knowingly performing an abortion if the fetus is more than 6 weeks old, unless in cases where the mother’s life in danger, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and is not further along than 15 weeks.


HB 7 also bans physicians from dispensing abortion-inducing drugs through platforms like tele-health. Instead, a physician “must be physically present in the same room” when the abortion is performed or when abortion-inducing drugs are dispensed.

Anyone who “willfully performs, or actively participates in, a termination of pregnancy” in defiance of the new guidelines would be committing a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years in prison under Florida state law.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis previously signed a 15-week abortion ban—House Bill 5—into law in the spring. The bill, which also makes providing an abortion outside of the guidelines a third-degree felony, went into effect July 1 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections established in Roe v. Wade.

The current Florida ban has faced multiple challenges in court, including a case filed by several abortion providers in the state who argue that the bill violates Florida’s constitutional protection for individuals’ privacy. The Florida Supreme Court agreed in January to review the case, which was struck down by lower courts, but justices did not grant providers their request to immediately block HB 5 while the lawsuit proceeds.

The newly proposed six-week ban would only go into effect if the 15-week ban holds up in court.

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