The Republican-majority Florida legislature approved a ban on abortions after six-weeks of pregnancy on Thursday, April 13.
Desantis is expected to sign the bill into law as he prepares for an expected presidential run. Florida currently prohibits abortions after 15 weeks.
The six-week ban would give DeSantis an increased advantage among Republican primary voters for his presidential candidacy built on his brand of being a bearer of the conservative standard.
Democrats and abortion-rights groups criticized Florida’s proposal for being extreme because many women do not realize they are pregnant until after six weeks.
“As a woman and student who still has her professional career ahead of her, it is scary knowing that the Florida legislature passed the abortion ban.” junior political science major Antonella Criscola said. “There’s already so many disparities that differentiate us from men, and the inability to have an abortion after 6 weeks is just another barrier us women have to struggle to fight against.”
The bill contains exceptions, including to save the woman’s life. Abortions for pregnancies involving rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of pregnancy, but the woman must provide documentation such as a restraining order or police report.
Under the Florida bill, drugs needed for medication-induced abortions could be dispensed only in person or by a physician. Apart from the Florida legislation, nationwide access to the abortion pill, mifepristone, is being challenged in court.
The six-week ban would take effect only if the current 15-week ban is upheld in the legal challenge currently before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.
DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential candidacy after the session ends in May, supported by the conservative policies approved by the Republican supermajority in the state House of Representatives this year.
Democrats, with no power at any level of state government, have turned to stalling tactics and protests to express their opposition to the bill.
In their final efforts to delay the bill’s passage in the House, Democrats filed dozens of amendments to the proposal, all of which were rejected by Republicans.