Last night, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law SB 300, known as the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which protects unborn children in Florida beyond six weeks of pregnancy.
Yesterday, the Florida House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted 70-40 in favor of the bill and the Florida Senate passed it on April 3 in a 26-13 vote.
SB 300 provides exception if the “woman obtaining the abortion is doing so because she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking” or if the life of the mother is threatened. In cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, abortion is allowed until the third trimester.
The “Heartbeat Protection Act” prohibits the use of taxpayers’ dollars for transporting mothers out of state to receive abortions. SB 300 also prohibits the dispensing of chemical abortions through the U.S. Postal Service or any other courier or shipping service and requires that a doctor must be present in person to prescribe abortion drugs and to perform surgical abortions.
The bill also provides $25 million for the Florida Pregnancy Care Network to support the work of Florida’s pro-life pregnancy centers to provide pregnancy, wellness, and parenting support services which include pregnancy testing, counseling, referral, training, and education for pregnant women and their families. In addition, it provides nonmedical material assistance that improves the pregnancy or parenting situation of families including clothing, car seats, cribs, formula, and diapers. It also includes wellness services such as high blood pressure screening, anemia testing, thyroid screening, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, and assistance with smoking cessation.
The “Heartbeat Protection Act” will take effect 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court either holds that the right to privacy enshrined in Article I, Section 23 of the State Constitution does not include a right to abortion; upholds the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by DeSantis in April 2022; or if the Court overturns the state abortion case precedent in the In re T.W. decision.
This week, Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief to the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Fiona Jackson Center for Pregnancy, and Issues4life Foundation, in defense of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban since the Florida Constitution affirms “the right to enjoy and defend life” regardless of “race, religion, national origin, or physical disability.”
In addition, Liberty Counsel Action filed an amicus brief to the Florida Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, et al., v. State of Florida, et al., requesting that the In re T.W. decision issued by an activist court in 1989 be overturned and the original intent of Article I, Section 23 be restored so as not to recognize a right to kill preborn children by abortion. Before the Florida Supreme Court is a 15-week abortion ban passed by the legislature in 2022. Like the 15-week abortion ban that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Florida case could follow a similar result.
Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We commend Governor DeSantis for signing the ‘Heartbeat Protection Act’ yesterday as well as the 15-week ban last year. Tragically, after the Roe and Casey abortion decisions were overturned, Florida has become a sanctuary for abortion. Now the Florida Supreme Court must establish this as a state that values unborn life according to the State Constitution.”