The US state of Florida plans to tighten abortion laws. The term within which a pregnancy can be terminated was already reduced to fifteen weeks last year, but the state’s parliament has now agreed to a further limitation to six weeks.
The law does include some exceptions if, for example, the life of the expectant mother is in danger. In cases of rape or incest, the old limit of fifteen weeks will also continue to apply, provided evidence can be submitted, such as a report or a restraining order.
It is expected that Governor DeSantis will not block the bill: his Republican base is in favor of stricter abortion laws. DeSantis has been cited as a key challenger to former President Trump in their party’s presidential candidacy.
The discussion about abortion has flared up again in the US since the Supreme Court ruled last year that the US Constitution does not guarantee the right to abortion. This ruling allows states to decide for themselves whether and when they allow abortion.
19 million women affected
The proposal will also have major impact far beyond the borders of the state. In the southern United States, Florida was one of the last states where abortion is not completely banned. Women from states such as Texas, Alabama or Louisiana therefore often traveled to Florida to terminate their pregnancies.
According to the White House, the law denies 4 million women in Florida and 15 million women outside of Florida necessary care if they want an abortion. “They no longer have access to abortion care after six weeks. Many women often do not even know they are pregnant,” a spokesman for President Biden emphasized.
She points out that a majority of Americans do not support stricter abortion rules. For example, a recent Ipsos poll shows that 50 percent of Americans think a 6-week limit is too strict. Even among Republicans, 44 percent of those polled are against.