By ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill approved by the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
The governor’s office said in a statement late Thursday that he had signed the legislation. The ban gives DeSantis a key political victory among Republican primary voters as he prepares to launch an expected presidential candidacy built on his national brand as a conservative standard bearer.
The six-week ban will take effect only if the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.
The policy would have wider implications for abortion access throughout the South in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving decisions about abortion access to states. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, while Georgia forbids the procedure after cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks.
“We have the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose,” said Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who carried the bill in the House.
Democrats and abortion-rights groups have criticized Florida’s proposal as extreme.
“This ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement issued after Thursday’s vote. “This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care.”
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