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Florida's 15-week abortion ban is now law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday signed into law a new, 15-week abortion ban, bringing the sunshine state in line with a slew of anti-abortion measures passing through Republican legislatures nationwide, The Associated Press reports.

The law, similar in design to the Mississippi ban currently under consideration at the U.S. Supreme Court, does not make exceptions for instances of rape, incest, or human trafficking; abortions after 15 weeks are only permitted if the parent's health is threatened or if the baby has a "fatal fetal abnormality," per The Miami Herald. It's "the strictest prohibition passed in Florida during the Roe v. Wade era."

DeSantis signed the ban into law at a church in Kissimmee, Florida, surrounded by supporters who celebrated with applause and cheers.

"We are here today to protect life. We are here today to defend those who can't defend themselves," the governor said, per HuffPost.

The law will go into effect on July 1, but an immediate court challenge is almost guaranteed, considering the ban is currently unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, notes HuffPost. However, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on Mississippi's 15-week ban some time in June, a ruling experts and advocates fear will gut or overturn Roe.

Current protections under the landmark 1973 ruling safeguard the right to an abortion up until the point of fetal viability — generally around 22 to 24 weeks. Many states have already moved to curb that threshold, however. For example, Texas last year enacted an incredibly-restrictive six-week ban that's proven difficult to challenge in court thanks to a vigilante-esque enforcement provision.