Florida GOP Lawmakers File Bills to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks of Pregnancy

New legislation filed by Republican lawmakers in Florida is in keeping with other bills around the nation trying to challenge existing abortion laws.

Although not as severe as Texas' controversial abortion law, the new bills filed by Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Erin Grall on the first day of the state's legislative session outlaw abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation already has strong supporters in House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Governor Ron DeSantis.

There is one key concession that aligns the legislation more closely with Mississippi's proposed law. Rape and incest are not listed as exceptions to any procedures, but abortions will be allowed past the 15-week deadline if the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. Abortions will also be allowed in order to prevent injury to the mother or if the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

Although DeSantis has already expressed support, he admitted on Tuesday that he has yet to read every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has been proposed. It remains unclear if he was referring to the recent bills or other similar proposals.

"There's a lot of pro-life legislation. We're going to be welcoming it. I haven't looked at every single bill," he said. "I think if you look at what's been done in some of these other states—I mean when you start talking about 15 weeks, where you have really serious pain and heartbeats and all this stuff—having protections I think is something that makes a lot of sense."

Meanwhile, despite being a minority in the Florida Legislature, Democrats are promising to fight the proposal.

"I really do stress it to folks to remember, we're talking about people in your districts who find themselves in these delicate situations and deserve and have a constitutional right to options and deciding what to do," Representative Anna Eskamani was quoted by Politico on Tuesday.

Florida Reproductive Clinic
Proposed legislation in Florida could result in abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy being banned. Above, a consultation room is seen at a women's reproductive health center that provides abortions on May 7, 2015, in South Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"We will continue to fight vociferously for a woman's right to choose and right to health care," Senate Democratic leader Lauren Book said.

"We will fight tooth and nail over that bill," added Representative Evan Jenne, the House minority leader.

These latest abortion bills will join others that could be considered in committees during the 60-day legislative session that began Tuesday. Senate President Wilton Simpson said he is optimistic the 15-week bill can pass.

"I think it's a very good start and I think it's something the committee process will vet out and perhaps be on the floor at some point," said Simpson, who was adopted as a young child. "I've been pro-life all of my life."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ron DeSantis Surfside
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed support for a proposed abortion ban filed on Tuesday, although he admitted that he has not read every piece of abortion legislation proposed. Above, DeSantis speaks during an event to give out bonuses to first responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images