HEADLINE HEALTH – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed one of the nation’s strongest protections for the unborn into law late Thursday night. It prohibits abortion after 6 weeks or 15 weeks in cases of rape, incest, or trafficking. It also contains criminal penalties for health providers who aid in a banned abortion and bans the use of telehealth or mail to receive abortion medications.
Kaiser Health News:
Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
AP: DeSantis Signs Florida GOP’s 6-Week Abortion Ban Into Law
The law contains some exceptions, including to save the woman’s life. Abortions for pregnancies involving rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of pregnancy, provided a woman has documentation such as a restraining order or police report. DeSantis has called the rape and incest provisions sensible. Drugs used in medication-induced abortions — which make up the majority of those provided nationally — could be dispensed only in person or by a physician under the Florida law. Separately, nationwide access to the abortion pill mifepristone is being challenged in court. (Thomas, 4/13)
The Washington Post: Ron DeSantis Signs Florida Six-Week Abortion Ban Into Law
Patients from across the South have been traveling to Florida for abortions since the Supreme Court decision in June, which triggered abortion bans across the region. Over 82,000 people got abortions in Florida in 2022, more than almost any other state. Nearly 7,000 of those traveled to Florida from other states, a 38 percent increase from the year before. … Because so many people live in Florida, a six-week ban there could put intense strain on clinics in states where abortion is still legal.
“If people from Florida are now going to be flooding into the Carolinas and Illinois … that is taking spots that Alabamians and Mississippians need right now,” said Robin Marty, director of operations at West Alabama Women’s Center, a clinic that provided abortions before Roe was overturned. “That’s a crisis that’s going to ripple all across the entire country.” (Rozsa and Kitchener, 4/13)
The New York Times: Florida Legislature Passes Six-Week Abortion Ban
According to data compiled by Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College, the average driving distance to the closest abortion provider in Florida is 22 miles, or about half an hour. A six-week ban makes it 607 miles, or more than nine hours. (Mazzei, Chen and Glorioso, 4/13)
The Hill: White House Blasts ‘Extreme And Dangerous’ Florida Abortion Bill
The White House on Thursday condemned Florida lawmakers for passing a law to outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, warning of broader consequences for women across the southern U.S. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the “extreme and dangerous” bill “flies in the face of fundamental freedoms and is out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of Florida and of all the United States.” (Samuels, 4/13)
In other state abortion news from New Hampshire and Nebraska —
AP: New Hampshire Senate Rejects Lifting Abortion Ban Penalties
The penalties associated with New Hampshire’s 24-week abortion ban will remain in place after the state Senate on Thursday killed legislation that would have removed them. The Republican-led Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to reject a bill that would have removed the civil and criminal penalties from the 2021 ban on abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy. It also rejected adding an explicit right to abortion up to 24 weeks to state law. Both bills had passed the House, where Republicans hold a narrow 201-196 majority. (Ramer, 4/13)
The New Republic: Nebraska Republican Says Six-Week Abortion Ban Is Necessary Because White People Are Being Replaced
A Nebraska Republican state senator argued Wednesday for a six-week abortion ban by claiming there are too many foreigners living in the state, invoking a racist conspiracy theory. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion is allowed in Nebraska up to 21 weeks and six days of pregnancy. But on Wednesday, the Senate began debating a bill that would ban abortion after six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant. … “Our state population has not grown except by those foreigners who have moved here or refugees who have been placed here,” Senator Steve Erdman told the chamber. Erdman also said that all of the aborted fetuses “could be working and filling some of those positions that we have vacancies.”
This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.