Abortion rights advocates in Florida decry a newly signed bill headed to DeSantis' desk
Among the concerns of Florida health care workers is that some people may not even realize they're pregnant at 15 weeks.
Florida's Republican-led Senate late Thursday passed a bill that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion rights advocates say that cutoff is arbitrary.
In a letter to lawmakers earlier this month, hundreds of Florida health care workers wrote that there is no medical justification to ban abortion care at 15 weeks.
Among their concerns is that some people may not even realize they're pregnant at that stage.
Stephanie Fraim, of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, says there are many reasons why a person may not be ready to have an abortion at 15 weeks which is 8 weeks earlier than Florida's current law.
"Most of which, by the way, are none of our business because people should have access to all the medical care they, their physician, and their family decide they need without interference with people from Tallahassee,” she said.
Another concern for opponents is that 15 weeks can be too early for doctors to detect some fetal abnormalities.
Statistically, very few abortions in Florida happen after 15 weeks. Fraim says that's because most of those pregnancies were planned. 2nd trimester ultrasounds-- typically taken at around 18 weeks-- often discover more serious fetal issues.
"And now this family who very much has wanted this pregnancy is faced with a really painful decision and instead of offering them compassionate care we're putting them through all kinds of hoops to prove that they need an abortion, making this bill really cruel."
Under the new measure, a patient could be granted an exception in extreme cases of fetal abnormalities or to protect the life of the mother, but only after two doctors provide certification.
If signed into law, Florida's 15-week abortion ban is scheduled to take effect in July. But opponents say it will be immediately challenged in court.