On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a proposal that bans abortions in Florida after 15 weeks.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban later this year but Republicans in Florida and other states have been passing similar laws as they wait for the decision.

“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,” said DeSantis. “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.”

“HB 5 prohibits an abortion after an unborn child has reached 15 weeks of gestation. While other states such as California and Colorado are taking extreme measures against the right to life by passing legislation which denies babies in the womb any rights or protections and provides for unrestricted abortions on demand until point of birth, Florida continues to move in a pro-life direction,” the governor’s office noted.

Legislators broke down on party lines over the issue on Thursday.

“Every abortion kills a special and unique human being who deserves protection under the laws of this state and the chance to grow up in a loving family. As an adopted child in a family that took in foster children, it has always been important to me that our state do everything we can to promote adoption as an alternative to abortion,” said state Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. “Floridians can be proud that we live in a state that not only protects innocent, unborn life, but also supports children and parents. I commend Governor DeSantis for making strong pro-life, pro-child, and pro-family legislation the centerpiece of his administration.”

“In the half century since the Roe v. Wade decision, science has shown us that an unborn baby rapidly develops the functions and form of a child long before viability. Having once been a scared teenage mother myself, I understand the challenge and anguish of a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, but we have a duty to protect life,” said state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who championed the proposal. “This bill safeguards innocent, unborn children with beating hearts, who can move, taste, see, feel pain, and whose lives should be protected under the laws of this state. Governor DeSantis is a champion for life, and I am grateful to him for signing this bill into law and protecting the right to life for unborn children across our state.”

Democrats in the Legislature stressed their opposition to the new law.

“With the stroke of a pen, Governor DeSantis has forced the women of Florida back 50 years by robbing them of the reproductive rights established by our nation’s highest court in Roe vs. Wade. Florida Republicans claim we are the ‘Free State of Florida’ – yet there is no freedom when women are denied access to critical healthcare and the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives. This abortion ban has total disregard for victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking who may need more time to physically and psychologically heal, arrive at a decision, and receive care. Sentencing victims of rape, incest, and trafficking to carry an unwanted pregnancy resulting from their assault is cruel and unusual punishment which does nothing except bludgeon the rights and well-being of women. This is not a “moderate” or fair bill if a woman or girl must live with the consequence of someone else’s actions, revictimized by the decisions of Florida’s right-wing GOP. Without access to safe and legal procedures, a woman’s life and her liberty are severely endangered. This is nothing more than an authoritarian move by Florida Republicans. Florida will never be free while lawmakers turn a blind eye to women’s rights, victims’ rights, and to the decent and basic needs of our citizens,” said state Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation.

“Politicians have no business getting between a patient and her doctor. This 15-week abortion ban takes away every woman’s right to make personal decisions that should only be made by themselves, with their family, their doctor, and their faith. Not only is this unconstitutional and infringes on personal freedom, it also isn’t our place as elected officials to mandate choices women must make about their health. This new law is gross government overreach dictating the choices and free will of Floridians. Floridians don’t need this kind of governmental interference into their freedom to make choices about their bodies,” said state House Minority Leader Evan Jenne, D-Hollywood.

Kevin Derby
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