Florida is soon going to levy a six-week abortion ban that will take place in May next month. Banning women from getting either surgical or medical abortions is a huge downfall for women’s reproductive freedom.

In 2022, months before the court overturned Roe v. Wade, Florida’s Republicans passed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Earlier, the ban was imposed after 24 weeks of pregnancy. The advocates fighting for women’s reproductive rights challenged it in state court as unconstitutional.

But a year later, when the Republicans put up a more aggressive fight against reproductive rights, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new bill stating that abortion at six weeks of pregnancy would be restricted.

But this wholly depends on the court's decision on the 15-week ban. If it decides the 15-week abortion ban is constitutional, then the 6-week abortion ban will be constitutional as well; no medical abortion will be allowed either.

The Florida Supreme Court released its verdict last week, nearly two years after petitioners filed their lawsuit: the 15-week ban is constitutional under state law, thus the six-week ban will go into force in 30 days, on May 1.

In practical terms, six weeks is a complete ban. Many people are unaware that they are pregnant by then. Even if they are up-to-date, Florida requires patients seeking abortions to go through two in-person medical appointments followed by a 24-hour waiting period, which is a difficult logistical barrier to accomplish before 15 weeks and nearly impossible before six weeks.

When the six-week ban goes into force next month, Florida will become one of the most restrictive states in the country on abortion access.

Florida's law prohibits not only abortion beyond six weeks but also abortion by telemedicine, eliminating the chances of medical abortion, and requires any medication abortion to be administered in person, thereby banning orders by mail for the pills.

While the law provides exceptions for rape and incest, anyone claiming those exceptions must submit a copy of a police report, medical record, or court order, even though victims usually refrain from contacting law enforcement authorities.

A second verdict given by the Florida Supreme Court on Monday provides some optimism for individuals in Florida and the rest of the South: A ballot question to protect abortion access in the state can proceed.

The bill, which would need the support of at least 60% of Florida voters to pass, would change the state's constitution to guarantee abortion rights until fetal viability, which is usually between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. In November, voters will have the opportunity to express their opinions on this issue.