FRIDAY, March 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Florida legislators voted on Thursday to ban most abortions after 15 weeks, a move that would restrict access to the procedure for women in that state.
The bill — modeled after a similar abortion ban in Mississippi that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on this summer — now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has expressed his support for signing the bill into law.
Florida now allows abortions until 24 weeks, with fewer restrictions than other Southern states. The new bill, which includes no exceptions for rape or incest, passed by a 23-15 vote late Thursday night after an emotional debate in the State Senate, The New York Times reported.
Florida Democrats expressed dismay over the passage of the abortion legislation. “This bill puts politicians, bureaucrats, and the government between a woman and her access to health care,” Sen. Janet Cruz, a Tampa Democrat, said of the abortion bill on Thursday, The Times reported. “It will absolutely result in a women seeking unsafe abortions and dying as a result.”
Not all U.S. states are moving to restrict abortions, however: A bill to permit some nurse practitioners in California to perform some abortions without doctor supervision has been introduced in that state legislature. The proposal announced Thursday comes as California prepares to deal with a possible surge of women from other states if the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to ban or severely limit abortion in the ruling that could come this summer, the Associated Press reported. The bill is meant to boost the number of health care workers in California who can perform abortions.
Currently, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants in California can perform abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy if they have completed special training and are supervised by a doctor, the AP reported. The proposed bill would let nurse practitioners with the required training perform first-trimester abortions without doctor oversight. It is unclear how many more of the state’s 30,000 nurse practitioners would be permitted to perform abortions if the bill becomes law.
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