Florida's Republican-led Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, putting the state one step closer to adopting a gestational limit currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The state's House of Representatives, which also has a Republican majority, approved the measure last month on a party-line vote. Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is expected to sign the measure into law.
Enactment of the bill would significantly reduce access to late-term abortions for women across the U.S. Southeast, many of whom travel hundreds of miles to end pregnancies in Florida because of stricter abortion laws in surrounding states.
The state currently permits abortions within up to 24 weeks of pregnancy without a mandatory waiting period, meaning a woman can terminate her pregnancy the day she arrives at a clinic.
Florida's measure, which would take effect on July 1, makes exceptions to the 15-week restriction only in cases when the mother is at risk of death or "irreversible physical impairment," or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
In a session on Wednesday, Republicans defeated an amendment that would have made exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking.