Home » Florida’s 6-week abortion ban takes effect, cutting off access in much of the South

Florida’s 6-week abortion ban takes effect, cutting off access in much of the South

by UNN Feed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy took effect in Florida on Wednesday just after midnight.

Before that, the state had been a refuge for abortion access in the South after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida banned abortions after 15 weeks in 2022, but the vast majority of its neighboring states had stricter restrictions, so more than 9,300 people traveled here last year for abortion care.

Demonstrators march in the rain during an abortion rights rally in downtown Orlando, Fla., on June 27, 2022.Stephen M. Dowell / Orlando Sentinel / TNS via Getty Images file

That’s more than double the number in 2020, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion access. Around 84,000 abortions were performed in Florida last year, about 1 in 12 nationwide.

Florida’s new law will curtail that trend. It is now a felony in the state to perform or actively participate in an abortion after six weeks’ gestation, which is about two weeks after a missed period. The ban has exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. State law also allows abortions to save a woman’s life or to prevent “substantial and irreversible” physical impairment, but doctors might still worry about their legal liability. 

“It’s going to cause delays in care that are going to cost women significant health hazards or risks,” Dr. Daniel Sacks, a provider at Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, said of the new law. 

Abortion providers in Florida worked to see as many patients as possible in the weeks before the ban took effect. They said some patients were confused about Florida’s restrictions and timelines, especially given that about a year has passed since Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the six-week ban. The policy had been temporarily blocked ahead of a state Supreme Court ruling last month that cleared the way for it to become law. 

Florida also…

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