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People are protesting during The Bans Off Our Bodies pro-choice rally at the US Federal Court House on July 13, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. © 2022 mpi04/MediaPunch/1PX/AP Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an extreme 6-week abortion ban, trampling human rights. The Florida House of Representatives passed the ban yesterday after the state Senate approved it earlier this month.

The new ban will not go into effect until 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court rules on a challenge to the state’s existing 15-week ban.

Florida maintained harsh abortion restrictions even before this latest move. The state currently bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and mandates patients make two separate in-person trips to a clinic, at least 24 hours apart. Young people under 18 must have consent from a parent or legal guardian, or a waiver from a judge, to have an abortion.

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report on the extraordinary challenges young people face in navigating these barriers. We found that Florida judges routinely deny young people’s requests to access abortion care without parental involvement, blocking or further delaying time-sensitive care.

The 6-week ban, along with these existing barriers, could place abortion out of reach for many young people. It will disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; immigrants; people with lower incomes; and people in rural communities.

The bill allocates US$25 million of state funding to fake clinics that use misinformation and shame to try to dissuade pregnant people from getting abortions.

Florida advocates fought tenaciously against the 6-week ban. Democratic lawmakers proposed numerous compassionate amendments, for example to lift onerous reporting requirements for survivors of rape and incest to get care beyond 6 weeks, to allow young people going through judicial bypass more time, or to reallocate funding from fake clinics to rape crisis centers. The Republican-controlled majority rejected them.

Despite its restrictions, Florida has provided crucial access to abortion care for Floridians and people across the US South, where many states banned abortion outright after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

This new law will force pregnant people to travel outside the state care; to manage abortion outside the health system; or to continue a pregnancy against their wishes. It will force patients from neighboring states to travel longer distances for health care.

For now, abortion remains legal in Florida until 15 weeks of pregnancy. But make no mistake: this bill violates human rights and denies pregnant people the ability to control their bodies, lives, and futures.

For information about accessing abortion, visit:

For information about Florida’s abortion funds, visit:

For information about parental consent and judicial bypass in Florida, visit:

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