As the future of Roe v. Wade remains precarious, religiously-motivated anti-abortion legislators throughout the country are ramping up their efforts to limit abortion services. Florida is the latest state to introduce a draconian anti-woman bill that would significantly impact reproductive health services. On the first very first day of Florida’s legislative session, Republican lawmakers filed Senate Bill 146 and House Bill 5, which would ban physicians from performing an abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. There are no exemptions for rape or incest. The bills also require abortion providers to document abortion medication procedures — a crude response to the Food & Drug Administration’s latest move to liberalize access to the abortion pill.
These bills mirror the 15-week Mississippi abortion ban that is currently in deliberation at the Supreme Court. Both the Mississippi law and the Florida bill would impose an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion before fetal viability, contrary to Supreme Court precedent. Given the high court’s ultraconservative makeup, Roe v. Wade faces a real possibility of being overturned.
The Florida Family Policy Council, a religious group associated with Christian nationalist organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, has applauded the Florida bills. Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled his support for these bills: “There’s a lot of pro-life legislation. We’re going to be welcoming it.”
This is a curious statement from someone who allowed his administration to let up to one million Covid-19 rapid tests expire — further endangering the lives of countless Floridians seeking care while the omicron variant surges across the country.
This latest move by Florida legislators shows why Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights throughout the nation. The Freedom From Religion Foundation submitted formal testimony in support of this act, and thanks to the work of many activist citizens, including FFRF members, it passed the House.
It is now in the Senate.
“This is a religious war against reproductive rights that will tragically turn back the clock to the bad old days. It is essential that secular voices are heard and that our nation safeguards this basic human right to bodily autonomy and self-determination,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.
Call your senators now to tell them to work to pass this important piece of abortion legislation so that these anti-science and anti-women bills become nullified.