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Florida Senate approves controversial 15-week abortion ban and sends bill to Governor

A bill sent by Republican senators to Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday would ban abortions after 15 weeks.

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Florida Senate approves controversial 15-week abortion ban and sends bill to Governor

It caps a bitter debate in Florida's statehouse due to a looming U.S Supreme Court decision that may limit abortion rights.

Republican DeSantis has previously indicated his support for the proposal. He is expected to sign it into legislation.

Senator Lori Berman (Democrat) said, "I want abortion legal, safe, and accessible, but I fear that this bill moves us in reverse, forcing women who have the means to travel out to state and those with limited resources to resort to potentially deadly options,"

This measure comes as Republicans across America move to restrict access to the procedure. The decision in this case is expected to be made later in the year.

The Florida bill allows exceptions for abortions that are necessary to save the life of a mother, to prevent serious injury to her mother, or to treat a fatal abnormality in the fetus. The state allows abortions for up to 24 weeks.

CBS Miami reportedthat Senate Bill Sponsor Kelli Stargel, a Republican hailing from Lakeland, shed tears as she gave her closing remarks. She also spoke about past efforts to strengthen laws that required parents to know before minors could have an abortion.

"I never imagined I would be standing here today, not only giving parental notice but also being able to save the lives of babies who are beyond 15 weeks gestation. Stargel stated that God is so good.

The GOP-controlled statehouse saw the measure move through. Debates often became emotional and revealing as lawmakers recalled their own abortions or experiences with sexual assault.

This week, Senator Lauren Book, a Democrat, revealed that she was drugged and raped multiple times by men as a teenager. She pleaded with senators to grant exemptions for incest, rape and human trafficking.

Book stated that it is not okay to force someone who has been sexually assaulted or impregnated to have a pregnancy to term. We should be able give this to a girl or woman who needs to make a decision after more than 15 weeks.

Separately from the passage of the GOP-controlled House bill last month, Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy stated to lawmakers that she had previously had an abortion and has "regret it every day since."

She said, "This is my right to life. To give up life is unconscionable for me."

Republicans often claim that the bill is reasonable since it does not completely ban the procedure. It still allows women enough time to decide whether they want to have an abortion, even in cases where there is rape or trafficking.

"The only thing we ask in this bill is that you take any decision before the 15 week period," stated Republican Senator Ileana Garca.

Arizona and West Virginia have also passed similar 15-week abortion bans to the Mississippi law currently under review by Supreme Court. Republicans from other states have copied legislation from Texas, which effectively bans abortion after six weeks.

White House officials hosted a roundtable conversation with representatives from abortion rights advocacy groups, Democratic state legislators, and other lawmakers to discuss the Florida bill. They also discussed Republican restrictions in other States. The White House released a statement about the meeting saying, "In the face these challenges, administration officials reiterated their commitment to exploring all options to protect reproductive healthcare care."

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