March 3, 2022, 7:41 PM PST
Florida’s Senate gave final approval to a bill that would make obtaining an abortion significantly harder as the Republican-controlled state legislature takes on a number of culture-war issues in an election year.
The measure, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, passed Thursday night by a 23-15 vote. The Florida House of Representatives cleared it last month and it will now make its way to the desk of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature.
The bill, similar to new law in Mississippi that also bans abortions after 15 weeks, effectively reduces the window from the current 24 weeks and leaves a few exceptions for medical emergencies. The Senate earlier this week rejected amendments that would have created exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
With DeSantis being widely floated as a potential presidential contender even as he campaigns to be re-elected this year, the state Legislature has taken up several issues popular with the Republican base. Before the legislative session ends on March 11, lawmakers are expected to approve bills that would limit discussions of gender and sexual orientation in schools and target the teaching of critical race theory.
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The Florida Senate vote took place as abortion takes center stage in the current term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments late last year suggested the court is poised to uphold the Mississippi law and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.