Abortions in cases where the baby is able to survive outside the womb have been banned in Florida, under a new law signed by the state’s Governor last week.
Currently Florida allows abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy – the same as Great Britain – but from next month a doctor will have to determine that the baby wouldn’t survive outside the womb before allowing the abortion to take place.
The new legislation also removes the grounds of “psychological trouble”, so that abortions are allowed only in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, or to prevent irreversible physical impairment of a mother’s major bodily function.
Due to technological advances in neonatal care, babies born at just 22 weeks into pregnancy are more likely to survive outside the womb.
Governor Rick Scott signed the new Bill into law on Friday. It is expected to come into force on 1 July.
A spokesman for Scott said he is “pro-life and was glad to sign this bill that protects the lives of children”.
A group of Roman Catholic Bishops in Florida supports the new law, and said it protects society’s “most vulnerable, the unborn”.
In the UK last year, a mother of twins that were born at 23 weeks questioned the current legal abortion limit.
Pam Glover gave birth to boys Mackenzie and Cameron, one of the most premature sets of twins ever to survive in the UK.
She said: “For us now, the idea that it’s possible to abort a child up to 24 weeks – older than Cameron and Mackenzie were – just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
She added: “It’s a message we’d like to get across, that the abortion limit should be lower. Our boys’ eyes were fused shut, their wee hands were fused. But they were proper little babies.”