Florida’s ‘nightmare’ abortion ban takes effect

Florida introduced one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States Wednesday in what President Joe Biden called a “nightmare” triggered by his election rival and predecessor Donald Trump.

US Vice President Kamala Harris was visiting Republican-led Florida to deliver a speech condemning Trump as the harsh ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy took effect.

Republican Trump has bragged about how justices he nominated allowed the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court to revoke the national right to abortion in 2022, in turn paving the way for 21 states to bring in total or partial bans.

“Today, an extreme abortion ban takes effect in Florida, banning reproductive health care before many women even know they are pregnant,” Biden said in a statement.

“There is one person responsible for this nightmare: Donald Trump.”

Biden himself visited Florida last week as Democrats seek to make abortion one of the core issues of the 2024 election, seeing it as a vote-winner against Trump.

Florida’s strict new law replaces a 15-week ban and has left women and clinics across the southern United States scrambling for options.

One of the most populous states in the country, Florida was one of the few in the region where the time limit for abortion was still relatively high, leading many women to travel there to terminate their pregnancies.

Harris, the first female, black and South Asian vice president in US history, has become the campaign’s leading voice on abortion rights and will speak in the city of Jacksonville.


In her speech, Harris was to describe the bans in Florida and 20 other states as “Trump abortion bans,” pinning the issue on the hard-right former president.

“This ban applies to many women before they even know they are pregnant – which tells us the extremists who wrote this ban don’t even know how a woman’s body works. Or they just don’t care,” she was to say, according to excerpts released by her campaign.

Harris was also set to slam Trump’s remarks in a Time magazine interview published on Tuesday in which he said states might monitor women’s pregnancies to see if they have had abortions in defiance of a ban.

“Under Donald Trump, it would be fair game for women to be monitored and punished by the government,” she was to say.

“Joe Biden and I have a different view: we believe no politician should ever come between a woman and a doctor.”

Despite touting the Supreme Court ruling, Trump has recently fudged on the abortion issue amid signs that it is hurting him in the polls. He repeatedly said in the Time interview that it was up to states to decide when asked if he would support a nationwide federal abortion ban.

By going to Florida the Democrats are taking the abortion fight right into Trump’s backyard, as the scandal-tainted former commander-in-chief spends much of his time at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the south of the state.

Florida has meanwhile voted Republican since Trump’s 2016 election victory, and its six-week abortion ban is the brainchild of Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

The conservative DeSantis, who unsuccessfully ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination this year, signed into law in April 2023 a bill to lower the limit from 15 weeks to six weeks.

The Sunshine State’s supreme court dismissed a final legal challenge by pro-abortion groups in April, paving the way for the ban to take effect on Wednesday.

But Florida voters will have a chance to reverse the six-week limit in a referendum that will coincide with November’s presidential election.

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