Florida's 6-week abortion limit bill to get first hearing Thursday

A Florida House panel Thursday is scheduled to take up a bill that seeks to prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee will hold the first hearing on the controversial proposal (HB 7), which was filed last week by Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers. 

You can read the bill by clicking here

The debate will come after lawmakers last year passed a measure to prevent abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Seven abortion clinics and a physician have challenged the constitutionality of that limit, with the case pending at the Florida Supreme Court. 

A key issue in the case is whether the 15-week limit violates a privacy clause in the Florida Constitution that has helped protect abortion rights in the state for more than three decades. Much of the bill would be contingent on the Supreme Court effectively upholding the 15-week law. 

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In addition to the constitutional issues, the 15-week limit has drawn criticism because it does not include exemptions for victims of rape or incest. The bill would allow abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest, but it would require women to present proof that they were victims. 

Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, has filed a similar Senate bill (SB 300).