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Groups protest proposed 6-week abortion ban at Miami's Freedom Tower

Groups protest proposed 6-week abortion ban at Miami's Freedom Tower
Groups protest proposed 6-week abortion ban at Miami's Freedom Tower 00:52

MIAMI - Several groups banding together for a protest at Miami's Freedom Tower by those outraged over a measure in this year's legislative session that would ban abortions after six weeks. 

They held a 'die in" to demonstrate the dangers of abortion restrictions. 

"We're here today to show that maternal mortality rates increase 3 times in states post Dobbs that have abortion bans in place and we don't want Florida to be next," said Kat Duesterhaus from "Bans off Miami."

The bills (SB 300 and HB 7), filed by Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, and Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers, came after the Republican-controlled Legislature last year passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The bills would allow abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest, but they would require women to present proof that they were victims.

"At the time the woman schedules or arrives for her appointment for a termination of pregnancy, she must provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation proving that she is obtaining the termination of pregnancy because she is a victim of rape or incest," the House bill says. "If the woman is a minor, the physician must report the incident of rape or incest to the central abuse hotline."

The Senate version includes the same proof requirements, though with slightly different wording.

During a news conference after his State of the State address, DeSantis called the exceptions "sensible, and we welcome pro-life legislation."

Democrats are outraged over the bills.

"That is tantamount to an all-out abortion ban. This is scary, these are scary times," said Senate Democratic leader Lauren Book.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, issued a statement blasting the proposed six-week limit.

"Florida Republicans have once again demonstrated a complete disregard for the women of our state and for our collective freedoms," Eskamani said. "As we've already seen in other states, a six-week ban is extreme, dangerous and will force millions of people out of state to seek care and others will be forced into pregnancy. Most people do not even know they are pregnant until after six weeks, so this six-week ban might as well be a complete ban."

The Florida Supreme Court in January agreed to take up a constitutional challenge by seven abortion clinics and a doctor to the 15-week abortion limit. A key issue in that case is whether the 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 bills would be contingent on the Supreme Court effectively upholding the 15-week law. For example, they say the six-week limit would take effect with a Supreme Court decision "receding" from legal precedents about abortion or "holding that the right to privacy enshrined in ,,, the State Constitution does not include a right to abortion."

Also at Wednesday's protest was the group Florida Rising. They called out state Republicans saying their agenda this legislative session takes away freedoms. 

"What we want to do is let the state, state government, public officials who stand in hte way of our freedoms know that we're not going to sit by idley and quietly and just let them run ram shot over teh rights and freedoms that we fought for," said Sen. Dwight Bullard from Florida Rising. 

He said the group is planning weekly protests around the state called "Wake up Wednesday." 

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