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Get the latest coverage of the 2023 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and 90.7 WMFE.

DeSantis has approved a new six-week limit on abortion

A group of abortion access advocates hold a tarp with the words "protect abortion" written on it.
Erich Martin
Abortion access advocates rallied inside the Capitol and in the courtyard at lawmakers voted to pass a rule that bans most abortions after six weeks.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state’s six week abortion bill into law late Thursday night.

Republicans are celebrating the move as a victory they say will help protect life in Florida. Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Meyers) sponsored the bill in her chamber. She says it pushes back on what she sees as a culture of abortion access without limits.

“A culture that was created by seven men on the Roe V. Wade court who got it wrong, who gave women a false choice," Persons-Mulicka said.

Democrats argue the measure will further endanger women and pregnant people and could result in increased maternal deaths. During debate on the House floor Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-Weston) talked about two Florida women, Shanae Smith-Cunningham and Anya Cook, whose stories were reported in the Washington Post after they were denied abortion care under the current 15-week rules.

“They went to three different hospitals—three," Bartleman said. "One on the West Coast and two in Broward County and nobody would give them that medically necessary abortion. Abortion is healthcare. Anya delivered that fetus on a toilet, lost half her blood, had to be incubated, almost died. I know that’s not the intention of anyone in this room, but that is what’s happening in the state of Florida. Now!”

Persons-Mulicka said that’s not the intention of the current law or the six-week abortion limit. She says the law includes protections for the life of the pregnant person and she says it does not require imminent danger before a doctor can legally provide an abortion.

“If anyone tells you differently about this law, they are simply misinformed about the status of this law and I fully encourage any woman who has been injured to pursue any available legal remedies," Persons-Mulicka said.

The six-week ban won’t be immediately enacted, but is expected to go into effect after the state supreme court rules on a constitutional challenge against the current 15-week law.