NATIONAL NEWS

DeSantis signs Florida GOP’s 6-week abortion ban into law

Apr 13, 2023, 1:38 PM | Updated: Apr 14, 2023, 3:54 am

A group activists gathered outside the Tallahassee City Hall building to protest SB 300, which woul...

A group activists gathered outside the Tallahassee City Hall building to protest SB 300, which would place a ban on abortions after six weeks, Monday, April 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. The bill was passed by the Senate earlier in the day. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill approved by the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The governor’s office said in a statement late Thursday that he had signed the legislation. The ban gives DeSantis a key political victory among Republican primary voters as he prepares to launch a presidential candidacy built on his national brand as a conservative standard bearer.

The six-week ban will take effect only if the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.

The policy would have wider implications for abortion access throughout the South in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving decisions about abortion access to states. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, while Georgia forbids the procedure after cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks.

“We have the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose,” said Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who carried the bill in the House.

Democrats and abortion-rights groups have criticized Florida’s proposal as extreme.

“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 issued after Thursday’s vote. “This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care.”

The law contains some exceptions, including to save the woman’s life. Abortions for pregnancies involving rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of pregnancy, provided a woman has documentation such as a restraining order or police report. DeSantis has called the rape and incest provisions sensible.

Drugs used in medication-induced abortions — which make up the majority of those provided nationally — could be dispensed only in person or by a physician under the Florida law. Separately, nationwide access to the abortion pill mifepristone is being challenged in court.

“I can’t think of any bill that’s going to provide more protections to more people who are more vulnerable than this piece of legislation,” said Republican Rep. Mike Beltran, who said the bill’s exceptions and six-week timeframe represented a compromise.

Abortion bans are popular among Wisconsin.

“Have we learned nothing?” House Democratic Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said of recent elections in other states. “Do we not listen to our constituents and to the people of Florida and what they are asking for?”

DeSantis, who often places himself on the front lines of culture war issues, had said he backs the six-week ban but had appeared uncharacteristically tepid on the bill. He has often said, “We welcome pro-life legislation,” when asked about the policy.

DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential candidacy after the session ends in May, with his potential White House run in part buoyed by the conservative policies approved by the Republican supermajority in the Statehouse this year.

Democrats, without power at any level of state government, had mostly turned to stall tactics and protests to oppose the bill, which easily passed both chambers on largely party-line votes. The Senate approved it last week, and the House did so Thursday.

A Democratic senator and chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party were arrested and charged with trespassing during a protest in Tallahassee against the six-week ban. In a last ditch move to delay the bill’s passage in the House on Thursday, Democrats filed dozens of amendments to the proposal, all of which were rejected by Republicans.

“Women’s health and their personal right to choose is being stolen,” said Democratic Rep. Felicia Simone Robinson. “So I ask: Is Florida truly a free state?”

National News

A hand written sign adds Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, during the R...

Associated Press

RNC convenes after an assassination attempt and Trump chose a running mate: Takeaways from day 1

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Trump-Vance 2024. The Republican presidential ticket came together on Monday when Donald Trump named JD Vance as his running mate. In turning to the 39-year-old Ohio senator, the Republican nominee injected new energy into a campaign that has centered in recent weeks on questions of age following President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate […]

53 minutes ago

Associated Press

Border arrests plunge 29% in June to the lowest of Biden’s presidency as asylum halt takes hold

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Arrests for illegally crossing the border from Mexico plunged 29% in June, the lowest month of Joe Biden’s presidency, according to figures released Monday that provide another window on the impact of a new rule to temporarily suspend asylum. Arrests totaled 83,536 in June, down from 117,901 in May to mark […]

3 hours ago

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

3 hours ago

FILE - People walk past May Hall, the main administrative building at Dickinson State University in...

Associated Press

President of Dickinson State University in North Dakota resigns after nursing faculty quit

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The president of Dickinson State University in North Dakota announced his resignation on Monday, days after the school’s nursing faculty quit. In a video, Steve Easton announced his departure and acknowledged “turmoil between some in the faculty and the administration.” Seven faculty members resigned Wednesday, KFYR-TV reported. Former Assistant Professor of […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at false claims around the assassination attempt on former President Trump

The assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection, is fueling a range of false claims and conspiracy theories as authorities seek information about the 20-year-old shooter’s background and motive, how he obtained the AR-style rifle he fired at Trump and security at the venue that failed to stop the shooting. […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Christina Osborn and her children, Alexander Osborn and Bella Araiza, visit a makeshift memo...

Associated Press

Judge clears way for demolition of Texas church where 26 people were killed in 2017 shooting

FLORESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A judge on Monday cleared the way for the demolition of the small Texas church in Sutherland Springs where a gunman killed more than two dozen worshippers in 2017 in what remains the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history. Following the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, the church […]

4 hours ago

DeSantis signs Florida GOP’s 6-week abortion ban into law