Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 15-week abortion ban bill

UPI

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into law a 15-week abortion ban bill that shortens the legal window for terminating a pregnancy by over two months.

DeSantis hosted a signing ceremony for House Bill 5, which goes into effect July 1, at an evangelical church in Kissimmee, Fla., the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“We’re here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said Thursday in Osceola County at Nacion de Fe, which translates to Nation of Faith.

North Carolina now remains the only state in the southern United States to allow abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Florida bill, opposed by Democrats, passed the Senate on March 15 after a 23-15 vote.

It does not include exceptions for mental health, rape, human trafficking or incest — each having been shot down by House and Senate Republican legislators.

Exemptions apply, as noted in the bill, if the fetus has a fatal abnormality, or the mother may die or suffer from “irreversible physical impairment.”

Florida had the third-highest abortion rate in the United States in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 71,914 procedures performed that year.

The state previously permitted abortions through the second trimester, making it a draw for patients coming out of state to Florida for the procedure.

Breaking the new law has consequences for violating physicians, including a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

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