BOCA RATON, Fla. (NEWSnet/AP) — Florida’s ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a time frame at which many women do not yet know they are pregnant, went into effect Wednesday.

The Florida Supreme Court, with five of its seven members appointed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, ruled 6-1 last month to uphold the state’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which cleared the way for the six-week ban.

The 15-week ban, signed by DeSantis in 2022, had been enforced while it was challenged in court. The six-week ban, passed by the Legislature a year later, was written so that it would not take effect until a month after the 2022 law was upheld.

The new ban has an exception for saving a woman’s life, as well as in cases involving rape and incest.

But the new rules also impact women who have nonviable pregnancies. Dr. Leah Roberts, a reproductive and fertility specialist with Boca Fertility in Boca Raton, said health care workers are still prevented from performing an abortion on a nonviable pregnancy — such as when the fetus is missing organs or implanted outside the uterus — until it actually becomes deadly.

“We’re being told that we have to wait until the mother is septic to be able to intervene,” Roberts said.

Vice President Kamala Harris will criticize the six-week ban on abortions during an event Wednesday in Jacksonville.

Florida Access Network executive director Stephanie Pineiro said the organization, which helps provide funding for abortions, expects costs for patients to increase dramatically. She estimates it will cost around $3,000 for a woman to travel to another state for an abortion. The closest place after 12 weeks would be Virginia or Illinois, but before 12 weeks would be North Carolina.

Voters may be able to enshrine abortion rights in Florida’s constitution after a separate state Supreme Court ruling allowed a proposed constitutional amendment to be on the November ballot.

The proposal says, “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.” It provides for one exception that is already in the state constitution: Parents must be notified before their minor children can get an abortion.

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