How recent abortion bills could impact women in SWFL

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A new bill to shorten the amount of time women have to get an abortion was introduced by lawmakers on the first day of the Florida legislative session.

Some reports claim vast support for the bill; others, vast outrage.

WINK News looked directly at the fine print. There are two abortion bills introduced by Florida Republicans. They are nearly identical. One was filed in the House, the other in the Senate.

If either passes, abortions would be prohibited after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions. Right now, abortions are banned after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Under this new legislation, anyone getting or performing an abortion after six weeks could face felony charges.

Abortions would be allowed in cases of rape and incest up to the 15th week. That’s as long as the woman provides evidence, such as a police report. Abortions would also be allowed in severe medical emergencies.

Here’s what Governor Ron DeSantis had to say about the proposed bill. “I think those exceptions are sensible, and like I said, we welcome pro-life legislation.”

WINK News dug a little deeper and pulled out another significant change. The bills would require that abortion-inducing drugs be provided only by a doctor in-person. Doctors would be prevented from using telehealth services for abortion-related matters.

No matter what happens with this bill, it wouldn’t take effect until the Florida Supreme Court rules on the 15-week abortion ban passed last year.

If the six-week timetable was to become law, Alyx Carrasquel, with Florida Access Network, says some women won’t even know they’re pregnant

“I was 5.6 weeks by the time I found out I was pregnant. And so not everybody’s cycle is, you know, the same. Sometimes it takes longer for people to find out that they’re pregnant than for a person that has a regular cycle. That means that you are finding out after two weeks of a missed period,” said Carrasquel

Carrasquel said when she got an abortion, she felt immediate relief, along with clients she helps at Florida Access Network.

Yvette Benarroach says she also got an abortion when she was 16, a decision she says haunts her to this day “It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life. You think about that child. And then, especially after you have other children, which I have now, I’m blessed enough to have our two boys, teenagers. You realize when you think about that dark time in your life that that shouldn’t be an option,” said Benarroach.

The bill explains that the exception to this six-week ban would be extended to 15 weeks if the woman’s life is at risk or she was a victim of rape or incest.

Stephanie Fraim, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, says the exceptions are too narrow.

“We have stories of women being turned away from the er, women whose water broke way too early in their pregnancy, but they weren’t sick enough for the er to treat them. We have stories where they are having to go into sepsis before they can actually get the life-saving care they need,” Fraim said.

The Community Pregnancy Clinic says they support the bill and offer enough resources for women to ensure they know abortion isn’t their only option.

“The forgotten option is the adoption option. And with so many families out there that want to adopt children, and it’s so expensive and so costly, but when we open up those avenues, there’s, you know, obviously open adoptions now and other opportunities that women who don’t feel like they can, you know, bring that child, you know, to life of whatever they think is going to be necessary. There are families out there who are going to be available,” said Scott Baier, CEO of Community Pregnancy Clinics.

Regardless of your stance or the outcome of this bill. These organizations say they are here to offer help and support for women expecting.

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