Considering his current and proposed bans on talking about gay people, making white people feel bad, potentially every Advanced Placement course, ESG investing, diversity programs, books, rent control, the use of preferred pronouns, and (basically) free thought, it’s easy to forget that Florida governor Ron DeSantis also wants to effectively outlaw abortion in the state. But he does—and alarmingly, he may do so as soon as next week.
Politico reports that—despite the clear message being sent by voters around the country that reproductive freedom is essential—DeSantis and his fellow Republicans are gearing up “to approve a far-reaching ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.” On Monday, the Florida Senate passed legislation that would impose just as much; the state’s House of Representatives is expected to do the same, at which point it will go to DeSantis’s desk, where he will no doubt sign the bill into law. Last month, the governor told reporters, “I’ve said…we’re for pro-life. I urged the legislature to work, produce good stuff, and we will sign.”
Given the Republican supermajority in the state legislature, reproductive rights activists and lawmakers who believe the government should not be able to impose forced birth will see little chance of the six-week ban not becoming law. “The chances of us being able to slow down or stop this bill are very very poor,” Amy Weintraub, the director of the Progress Florida’s reproductive rights program, told WFTV9. Incredibly, at least one Florida Republican is trying to argue that a six-week ban—which would effectively outlaw most abortions, given that many people do not even know they’re pregnant within the first six weeks—is some kind of compromise. “When a child has a heartbeat, I think that’s when people say, ‘Wait a minute, this is something different,‘” Florida House Speaker Paul Renner told Politico on Tuesday.
A six-week ban would not only have a devastating impact on pregnant people in Florida, but those in nearby Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, where abortion has already been drastically restricted. The bill passed by the Florida Senate has some exceptions—including in instances of rape, fetal abnormalities, or if two physicians “certify in writing that…the termination of the pregnancy is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman”—but, disturbingly, “psychological condition[s]” don’t count.
Earlier this week, two Democratic officials were arrested and charged with trespassing after they refused to leave a protest in the state capital over the proposed six-week ban.