Senate passes 6-week abortion ban
Image via Florida House.

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The bill makes exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking.

The Senate has passed the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which is one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country.

SB 300, filed by Fort Pierce Republican Sen. Erin Grall, would ban doctors from knowingly performing or inducing a termination of pregnancy after the sixth week of gestation. This would represent a change from the current 15-week threshold, which legislators hailed as a reasonable compromise when they passed it last year.

“Some of us may have thought we’d never be where we are. But we are,” Grall said in close, acknowledging the SCOTUS’ Dobbs decision last year as allowing movement beyond what seemed possible before Roe v. Wade was overturned.

2022’s HB 5 made no exception for cases of rape and incest, a controversy at the time. However, the new bill would allow abortion up to the 15th week of pregnancy if the woman was impregnated by human trafficking, rape or incest or a combination thereof. That exception would include statutory rapes.

Other exceptions would apply. If the pregnant woman is judged by two doctors to be in danger of dying or suffering “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition,” she could have an abortion. If only one doctor were available, that sole physician’s recommendation would suffice.

Likewise, if the fetus had a “fatal abnormality,” abortion would be permitted during the first two trimesters.

Democrats tried, and failed, to stop the bill one last time before the passage.

Starting off debate for Democrats, Sen. Lori Berman said that last year, “we were told 15 weeks was moderate,” and now the state is in “extreme territory,” a nod to last year’s framing versus this year’s expansion of the bill.

“The boys in this state had better be prepared,” Berman added, contending there would be “a lot more charges of rape in the state,” and calling the legislation a “de facto abortion ban.”

Sen. Tracie Davis told a story from her Jacksonville district about a “young girl in middle school who showed up at a clinic, a victim of incest, who was denied an abortion because she was past the 15 weeks.”

“Dropping the limit to six weeks for this abortion ban means it will happen even more,” Davis predicted.

One Republican joined with Democrats in offering a note of caution before passage. As she had in committees, Sen. Alexis Catalayud noted that when she was knocking on doors during her campaign last year, she pledged to support the 15-week ban and would “vote ‘no’ today on this policy,” despite human trafficking being added as an exception at her behest.

Catalayud and other Republicans testifying on the bill, meanwhile, were interrupted on numerous occasions by protesters watching the debate. But those voices didn’t shake their resolve. Eventually, the gallery was cleared of spectators entirely during a ten-minute recess. The bill then passed by a 26 to 13 vote, with Catalayud and Sen. Corey Simon joining the Democrats in opposition.

After the vote, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo offered a statement in support.

“The Heartbeat Protection Act builds on Florida’s strong track record of protecting the most vulnerable, especially the unborn, and strengthens state efforts to promote adoption, and support families, with significant resources to benefit infants, young children, and parents, which we hope will encourage more Floridians in difficult and unplanned situations to choose life for their babies,” the Naples Republican said.

“Our bill also includes strong and clear exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking, in addition to those already available for the life of the mother. We also clarify the existing exception for the horrible situation when parents are facing the heartbreaking diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality.”

The companion bill is moving in the House as well. Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka’s measure (HB 7) passed its final committee Thursday, with an amendment that aligned the House and Senate products before the exception for human trafficking was added to the Senate bill later that same day.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Trojan Trolley Bill McSued (many times)

    April 3, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    They need cannon fodder. They need prison fodder. They need slave labor for the tourism industry. This is why they need more babies. Has nothing to do with religion or some altruism.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    April 3, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    Where is all the increased welfare spending to help take care of all these babies that will be born to poor and teenage parents?

    Because forcing a bunch of new people to be born into poverty isn’t going to go well for Florida down the road.

    • Tom

      April 3, 2023 at 5:16 pm

      They make bad decisions that effect the whole of society… and aim to pay not a dime for them. That’s the answer to that question. Same behavior that they accuse the targets of their laws of having.. they themselves exhibit. You see?

  • JD

    April 3, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Again ignorant FLGOP. No compassion or empathy. Everything is black and white.

    The same religious nutballs that condone a PORNSTAR hush money payments with their family values.

    Shameful Commie RED bastards. Koch sponsored Manchrians the FLGOP.
    Pathetic. America’s Governor? Meh. America’s 0.4% Governor.

  • Tom

    April 3, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    Hopefully this lady ends up riding around in a pope mobile like Kavanaugh… living on a military base and never being able to eat at a restaurant ever again.

  • Elliott Offen

    April 3, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    Of course some Catholic ¢unt trying to spread religion with the sword and she will not be adopting meth babies and crack babies.. and social programs aren’t on the agenda with these so called religious people. “God” will pay for it all right? Making all kinds of problems in society so she can get rewards in heaven. These whackos shouldn’t be in government. They’re mentally disordered. They see and hear things that aren’t there… believe in things that can’t be proven and act on the feelings that result. Schizophrenic btch.

  • Christine Blasey Ford

    April 3, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    This schizophrenic religious ¢unt ought to be raped. Ought to be forced to adopt a disordered meth baby and pay all the money she ever will make to support other disordered crack babies…ones that wouldn’t be born if not for her stupidity and Christian fascism… theocratic bullsht. Needs a big smack.

  • Senorita Margarita

    April 3, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    AWESOME 👍 👍👍 😎😎😎

    • David Pakman

      April 3, 2023 at 9:30 pm

      Like you give a flying fk or will take care of crack babies you clown. You imbeciles don’t wanna pay taxes as it is and I hope that lady gets acid thrown in her face by some far left maniac if these fking hogs pass such stupidity as that. Hope she gets baptism with acid.

Comments are closed.


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