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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill that would protect unborn babies after 15 weeks days after 24 hour waiting period is also upheld

by | Apr 14, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

(left to right) Speaker Chris Sprawls; Lynda Bell, President, Florida Right to Life; Rep. Erin Grall, House sponsor; Lori Bontell, Faith and Community Coalition

Earlier today, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act” (House Bill 5) into law, Gov. DeSantis said “It’s a statement of our values that every life is important.”

DeSantis said being able to sign the bill prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks was “really meaningful.”

“We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said Thursday on a stage surrounded by lawmakers, pro-life advocates and children. “This will represent the most significant protections for life that we have seen in a generation.”

The bill signing come just days after Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey upheld a 24-hour waiting period, a law passed way back in 2015. “Twenty-six other states have similar restrictions, some of which have been in effect for many years. Moreover, plaintiffs can point to no evidence that these laws have prevented any women — let alone all women — who desire an abortion from obtaining one.”

Judge Dempsey noted that “The plain purpose of the Act is to enhance a pregnant woman’s voluntary and informed consent by providing for a 24-hour window of opportunity for her to consideration the important information which Florida requires she be given. In passing the Act, Florida joined the majority of State which have similar requirements, include those that have recognized a right of privacy in their state constitutions. These laws have been upheld in numerous judicial decisions both state and federal.”

The bill is modeled after, but is not identical to Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act.” On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in that case. A decision is expected in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June.

“Previously, Florida had allowed abortion through the second trimester of a pregnancy, making it one of the most permissive states for abortion in the southeast,” according to CNN’s Steve Contorno. “According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida reported 71,914 abortions in 2019, or 18.5 per 1,000 women, the third highest rate in the country.

HB 5 passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 78-39 and the Senate by a 23-15.The bill goes into effect July 1. Similar bills have been passed in Kentucky and Oklahoma.

“Working within that infrastructure of 15 weeks gives Florida its best opportunity to save a significant number of babies, very quickly, after the court’s decision,” Rep. Erin Grall said last month. “The Supreme Court’s weighing of the Mississippi law was a factor in the decision to propose the 15-week restriction.”

“I never dreamed I’d be standing here today, but actually being able to save the life of babies,” GOP Sen. Kelli Stargel told legislators. “God is so good.”

“We at Florida Right to Life are absolutely thrilled with the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Erin Grall. They did great work and our wonderful pro-life Governor DeSanctis just signed the 15 week bill,” said Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life. “Florida Right to Life was proud to play a pivotal role in its passage.”

Categories: State Legislation