Conservatives keep on winning in Florida and, this time, the victors are the unborn as Governor Ron DeSantis signs into law House Bill 5, the “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act” — legislation that prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.
“We are here today to protect life. We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said at the celebratory signing. “It’s a statement of our values that every life is important.”
The bill, which does not provide exceptions for cases of incest, rape, or human trafficking, passed Florida’s Senate in early March and was sent to the Governor’s desk.
The legislation cuts the time frame during which an abortion is allowed by nine weeks, down from the previously permissible 24 weeks. It does allow for exceptions if a fetal abnormality is detected or if it is needed to prevent severe harm or death to the pregnant mother.
Florida Enacts Protections for Unborn Babies at 15 Weeks https://t.co/IeOANY8LxM
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 14, 2022
“House Bill 5 protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain,” the governor stated before signing the bill. “Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history.”
It is the latest in a series of bills designed to move the Sunshine State in a “pro-life direction.”
In June of 2020, the wildly popular governor signed SB 404, which requires a parent’s or legal guardian’s signature before a minor can receive an abortion, and last year, DeSantis added his signature to SB 2518, which extended postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from just 60 days to a full year post-delivery.
Just last week, according to the governor’s official website, Florida’s 24-hour waiting period was upheld and reinstated by a circuit court judge after seven years of legal challenges, and earlier this week, DeSantis signed HB 7065, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that includes “educational programs, mentorship programs, and one-on-one support to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida.”
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) April 14, 2022
But, as the Daily Mail reports, not everyone is pleased with Florida’s direction.
“Nobody should be forced to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for essential health care — but in signing this bill, Gov. DeSantis will be forcing Floridians seeking abortion to do just that,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president in a statement.
“Floridians want to be able to make decisions about their health and their families, without interference from politicians,” Johnson continued. “They want the protections guaranteed by their state’s constitution. This ban runs counter to all of these goals.”
But pro-life group Susan B. Anthony’s List called the signing a “milestone victory.”
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have delivered a milestone victory for women and children,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The legislation enacted today may save more than 3,300 lives a year by protecting unborn children, as well as their mothers, from cruel and dangerous late abortions.”
HB 5 was sponsored by Florida State Senator Kelli Stargel, who stated, “These are babies. It’s an individual inside that woman that has a separate DNA, a separate body, a separate person. And the question we’re asking ourselves is, when does that baby in the womb have the same rights as the mother that’s carrying it with that right to be able to live and to thrive and to grow?”
The ban is set to go into effect on July 1.
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