Within 15 minutes of receiving Florida’s heartbeat bill, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that pro-life legislation into state law, banning abortions in Florida once an unborn baby has a detectable heartbeat.
The Heartbeat Protection Act prohibits doctors from “knowingly performing” an abortion on a baby whose age is determined to be more than 6 weeks. The bill provides exceptions if the mother is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking.
“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis, widely considered to be a 2024 contender, said in a statement Thursday. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
The governor’s office praised the bill as a historic measure “to defend the dignity of human life and transform Florida into a pro-family state,” comparing Florida’s new pro-life legislation to that of states like New York and California, which have “legalized infanticide up until birth.”
Last year, DeSantis also signed a 15 week abortion ban and legislation promoting fatherhood in the state through educational and mentorship programs as well as one on one support. He also signed a bill expanding support for foster parents and children (SB 7034) and a bill combatting maternal mortality rates (SB 2518).
In a release, the governor’s office emphasized that “in addition to legislating pro-family policies, this year’s Framework for Freedom Budget includes permanent sales tax exemptions for baby and toddler necessities, including cribs and strollers, as well as tax holidays on children’s books, toys, athletic equipment, and pet food.”
“It includes more than $96 million to support foster parents, caregivers, and children,” the release continued. “It also includes nearly $143 million to enhance services for pregnant and postpartum women and children, which will improve maternal health outcomes for women at high risk for maternal morbidity.”
SB 300, the Heartbeat Protection Act, passed the Florida house on Thursday afternoon. The legislation was sent to DeSantis around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, and the governor signed it at about 10:45 p.m.
“This historic day marks an enormous victory in the battle for human rights,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement celebrating the news. “No longer will Florida account for 10% of abortions in the nation or be known as an abortion destination. More moms who need financial and emotional support will get the help they need during pregnancy and after their child is born. Most of all, tens of thousands of precious boys and girls will live and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, bless the lives of others, and enhance Florida’s communities.”
Dannenfelser, the head of one of the top pro-life groups in the nation, credited DeSantis’s leadership and the leadership of pro-life state leaders throughout the country for the “incredible momentum in the states to protect unborn lives.”
“Gov. DeSantis has always been a bold pro-life voice, never flinching in the face of extremist opposition in order to stand proudly in defending Floridians,” she added. “That’s why he, Florida’s Republican legislators and Attorney General [Ashley] Moody saw such overwhelming victories in the mid-term elections last year, and why the state of Florida is a shining example to others in the Dobbs era.”
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last year.
But Planned Parenthood Action of Florida condemned the move — one that would significantly lower the amount of abortions that affiliates in the state would perform on unborn babies.
“Hours after it passed the House floor, DeSantis just signed the 6 week abortion ban into law,” the group tweeted. “TO BE CLEAR: Abortion remains legal until 15 weeks This ban does NOT go into effect until the FL Supreme Court makes a ruling to undermine our right to privacy in the FL constituent.”
The move follows controversy over former President Donald Trump’s midterm abortion analysis. Earlier this year, Trump suggested that abortion tanked GOP performances in the midterms.
“It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms,” Trump said in a Truth Social post in early January. “I was 233-20! It was the ‘abortion issue,’ poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters.”
“Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again,” added the former president, who has not responded to requests for comment. “Plus, Mitch stupid $’s!”
His remarks prompted concerns that GOP leaders would avoid discussing abortion during subsequent elections. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America issued a statement at the time noting that “the approach to winning on abortion in federal races, proven for a decade is this: state clearly the ambitious consensus pro-life position and contrast that with the extreme view of Democrat opponents.”
“We look forward to hearing that position fully articulated by Mr. Trump and all presidential candidates,” the organization said, adding, “There was ALSO a profound midterm lesson for future federal candidates: those who adopted the Ostrich Strategy on abortion lose.”
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