After the House passed the measure last week, a bill that would prevent abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is poised to go to the full Senate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday voted 13-6 to approve the bill (HB 5), which is similar to a Mississippi law that is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Committee Chairwoman Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican who is the Senate sponsor of the bill, said viability of babies has gotten earlier since the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling in 1973.

“This is about what we as a state should be responsible for and how we as a state should move forward and looking at within the confines of law,” she said. But Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat who voted against the bill, cited a need for freedom.

“We’re talking about individuals who certainly have the right to decide what they want to do as an individual and with their doctor,” Gibson said. “And we’re not talking about any individual, we’re talking about women. And we have the, certainly, intellect and exposure to determine what is best for us in any given situation.”

The Republican-dominated House approved the bill in a 78-39 vote along nearly straight party lines.


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