Florida Becomes First State to Pass a 15-Week Abortion Ban This Year

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill banning abortion at 15 weeks. It would then take effect July 1.

Photo of the outside of the Florida state Capitol building
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the 15-week abortion ban that state lawmakers passed last week. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

If it feels like we talk about Florida a lot, well, we do. And you can blame their lawmakers for that after they passed an unconstitutional 15-week-abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking.

In addition to banning abortions starting 15 weeks after the first day of the pregnant person’s menstrual period, the bill also adds additional restrictions that would force them to carry a fetus with a “fatal abnormality” for even longer and revises language about tobacco-prevention programs to include “women who may become pregnant” as targets for state surveillance—a hint of what’s to come after Roe v. Wade falls.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill, which would take effect July 1.

Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) released a statement against the ban, tweeting that “there is no such thing as a reasonable abortion ban … this is a sad day for reproductive rights in Florida, but our fight is not over.”

Arizona and West Virginia are considering similar abortion bans—all of which are modeled after the case at the heart of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s 15-week ban that’s awaiting a ruling at the Supreme Court.

Until now, the southeasternmost U.S. state has been a destination for out-of-state abortions in the region. Even with a 24-week abortion ban and parental consent law, among other restrictions, Florida is still more lenient than its neighbors when it comes to access.

So where do they—and Floridians who need abortions—go now? And what happens to the people who can’t travel out-of-state for an abortion, including immigrants and especially those with undocumented family members or without documents themselves?

There are a lot of unanswered questions, but there are two things we know for sure: This will be devastating to pregnant people in the South, and the anti-abortion movement will not stop here.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.