The Florida Senate on Monday approved a bill that will ban most abortions once pregnancy has reached six weeks.

The Florida Senate voted 26-13 in favor of the new bill, also called the Heartbeat Protection Act, per CNN.

“The bill targets both physicians who perform abortions and those who ‘actively participate in’ them, and should the bill become law, any person who violates it could be charged with a third-degree felony,” according to CNN.

“The bill, SB300, would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for women facing life-threatening harm during pregnancy, and exemptions of up to 15 weeks for victims of rape, incest and human trafficking. There’s also $30 million for the Florida Department of Health to expand programs that support contraception, parenting and pregnancies,” Politico reported.

A previous Florida bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy is still being challenged in the court, said Reuters. Last month, Republicans in both houses of the Florida Legislature filed similar bills to shorten the 15 weeks to six.

“The House’s near-identical version of the bill advanced out of committee on Thursday and a floor vote is likely in coming days. Either bill could be approved by the other chamber and sent on to the governor’s desk for signing as soon as this week,” Reuters reported.

Reuters said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, signed the 15-week ban into law last year and already “signaled his support” concerning the modification to six weeks.

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CNN said the bill would also place “restrictions on telehealth abortions and medication.” NPR explained telehealth abortions as “medication-based abortions that generally rely on a two-drug combination.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters before signing a 15-week abortion ban into law Thursday, April 14, 2022, in Kissimmee, Fla. A new bill passed by the state’s senate will ban most abortions after six weeks. It still needs to be passed by the House before reaching DeSantis’ desk. | John Raoux, Associated Press

Protesters and supporters.

Supporters and critics were quick to express their views.

The AP reported that Sen. Erin Grall, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said, “Bodily autonomy should not give a person the permission to kill an innocent human being. We live in a time where the consequences of our actions are an afterthought and convenience has been the substitution for responsibility, and this is unacceptable when it comes to the protection of the most vulnerable.”

This Senate Republican wants to ban most abortions after 15 weeks

Grall told Politico that abortion has “normalized and sterilized the taking of life as health care.”

The bill’s co-sponsor, Republican State Sen. Clay Yarborough, said, “Unborn children deserve the strongest protections possible under our laws,” per CNN.

Although she didn’t vote for the measure, state Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami, predicted its passage and said that “I believe it will go a long way to help change the hearts and minds influenced by a decade of anti-life culture,” per Politico.

In a statement, the legislative director and senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Kara Gross, said the bill will unfairly impact people of color, those with disabilities and people with low income. She said women may not know they are pregnant by six weeks or may not be “able to schedule the legally required two in-person doctor’s appointments before six weeks of pregnancy.”

Chair of the Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried and Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book were arrested protesting outside the Florida State Capitol, along with 11 others who disobeyed the Tallahassee Police Department’s orders to leave the grounds after sunset, per The Associated Press.