TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Currently, Florida law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but this could change. Following big gains in the state legislature for Florida Republicans, lawmakers and leaders in both chambers are weighing their options and considering potential, stricter bans.
Talk of further abortion restrictions was swirling long before state Republicans won big in the latest election cycle. Now the hot button political issue could mean further restrictions in the Sunshine State.
As Republican leaders in both the Florida House and Senate gave victory speeches on Tuesday, they were accompanied by chants from pro-life protestors. The protestors’ message was clear, after winning supermajorities in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, Republicans in Florida are considering reducing the 15-week ban even further.
“We have pro life majorities in both chambers. Having said that I can say members have ,very different opinions on what it means to be pro life,” Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) said.
New Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) said she hopes that future restrictions, if they become law, include exceptions. In the previous legislative session, when Florida’s current 15-week ban passed, exceptions were not included, despite efforts by Florida Democrats in both chambers.
“Everybody knows my position on the exceptions for rape and incest I wanted to get that … there’s really nothing to do until the Supreme Court rules,” Passidomo said.
Florida Democrats say having a super minority keeps their hands tied, but they’re still willing to fight for abortion access.
“Even though we’re in a super minority now that doesn’t mean that we won’t hold the line – we will absolutely speak up for the voiceless and a woman’s right to choose,” Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) said.
Depending on when state lawmakers choose to address it, Florida could see changes to the law as soon as the next few weeks. A pending special session focused on property insurance could be adjusted to also include abortion rights.
If that doesn’t happen, it’s still possible lawmakers introduce new legislation in the 2023 legislative session, which starts in March.