The bill, which was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives last week, would make it a felony for doctors to perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
“Protecting the unborn is a top priority for Republicans in Florida,” said State Representative Mary Jones, who sponsored the bill. “The purpose of this law is to protect the sanctity of human life and make certain that every kid has a chance to survive,” the author of the bill said.
The proposal has already drawn criticism from abortion rights groups, who argue that it would effectively outlaw abortion in the state by making it virtually impossible for women to access the procedure.
The bill is expected to face significant opposition in the Democrat-controlled state Senate, where lawmakers have previously blocked similar measures.
But Republican lawmakers remain optimistic that the bill will eventually become law, pointing to recent gains in the state’s conservative-leaning legislature.
“If we want to protect innocent life, we have to be willing to stand up and fight for it,” said State Senator John Doe, who supports the bill.
The proposed ban on abortions beyond six weeks is part of a larger wave of anti-abortion legislation being introduced in conservative states across the country. Supporters of the bills argue that they are necessary to protect the rights of the unborn, while opponents warn that they will restrict women’s access to healthcare and force them to seek unsafe abortions.
The debate is likely to continue in Florida and elsewhere for years to come, as both sides dig in and fight for what they believe is right.