- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2022

Florida’s House of Representatives passed early Thursday a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a similar Mississippi law.

The legislation now goes to the Florida Senate for consideration before heading to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for signature.

Florida is one of several Republican-led states looking to tighten abortion laws ahead of the Supreme Court issuing a ruling on Mississippi’s law. The 15-week ban is aimed at overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion lawful up until viability of the fetus, usually between 24 and 28 weeks gestation.

Florida currently allows abortion up to 24 weeks.

The state’s proposed 15-week ban would allow exceptions to save the mother’s life or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not have an exception for rape or incest.

“This is the right to life and to give up life is unconscionable to me,” said state Rep. Dana Trabulsy, a Republican. She said she previously had an abortion but has “regretted it every day since.”

Democrats argue that stricter state laws would burden women’s rights.

“As a woman, it is my right to make decisions about my body and what is in the best interest of my family,” state Rep. Robin Bartleman said. “God forbid your 11-year-old is raped and pregnant and you find out after 15 weeks, you don’t get to get your daughter that abortion, that’s what this law says.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June on whether Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is lawful.

Lawmakers in Arizona and West Virginia also are pushing legislation to limit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, blue states are looking to protect access to abortion.

Vermont lawmakers passed the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, putting abortion access on the ballot in November.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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