Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban Takes Effect, Cutting Off Access and Straining Clinics

Florida's strict 6-week abortion ban takes effect, cutting off access and straining clinics. This impacts the entire Southeast region, forcing women to travel long distances for care. A proposed constitutional amendment could overturn the law, but the vote is months away.

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Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban Takes Effect, Cutting Off Access and Straining Clinics

Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban Takes Effect, Cutting Off Access and Straining Clinics

Florida's strict six-week abortion ban went into effect on Wednesday, largely cutting off access to the procedure in the state and increasing strain on remaining clinics. The ban means that nearly every Southern state has now outlawed abortion or made it inaccessible after six weeks of pregnancy.

The new law prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. It replaces a previous 15-week ban. The law has exceptions for saving a woman's life and in cases of rape and incest, but doctors say they are still prevented from performing abortions on nonviable pregnancies until the mother's life is in danger. This is expected to cause psychological trauma for women and lead veteran doctors to leave the state.

Abortion providers in Florida worked to see as many patients as possible before the ban took effect, with some clinics reporting double their usual volume of abortions. However, many patients will still be too far along in their pregnancies to receive care under the new restrictions. Patients who are more than six weeks pregnant will be given information about obtaining abortions in other states.

Why this matters: The effects of Florida's six-week ban are expected to be felt across the region, as patients seeking to terminate their pregnancies in the South now have even fewer options. The ban has ended Florida's status as a bastion for abortion access, forcing thousands of women to travel long distances and pay high costs to get abortions out of state.

Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court has allowed a proposed constitutional amendment to be on the November ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state. If the measure passes, the six-week law would be deemed unconstitutional. However, the vote is months away, and in the meantime, thousands of patients could be affected by the ban. Anti-abortion groups are celebrating the new law, while abortion rights advocates are deeply concerned about the impact on women's health and access to care in Florida and beyond.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida's 6-week abortion ban took effect, cutting off access in the state.
  • The ban has exceptions for life-threatening cases, but doctors say it still prevents abortions.
  • Patients must now travel to other states like North Carolina or Virginia for abortions.
  • A proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights in Florida is on the ballot.
  • The ban is expected to impact the entire Southeast region and women's health access.