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On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 5, known as the “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality” bill into law, a measure which protects unborn child from abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. This legislation is slated to go into effect July 1.
The legislation allows for abortions past 15 weeks only in situations involving a “fatal fetal abnormality” and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. The law limits the time an abortion is legal by nine weeks, as abortions were previously banned in Florida past 24 weeks.
The event took place at Nación De Fe, a church in Kissimmee, Florida. Before Governor DeSantis signed the bill he said, “This bill will provide protection for unborn children from abortion when the child reaches 15 weeks of gestational age. Of course, these are babies that have heartbeats and can feel pain and can move. The bill also expands fetal and infant mortality review committees across the state which engage medical professionals and communities to review infant mortality cases and recommend reduction efforts tailored to their communities.”
The governor also added, “We believe that everybody counts. We want everybody to have an opportunity to realize their dreams, make the most of their God-given potential. And sometimes you need to have some folks to step up and help with that. So now we are increasing incentive for family members and close friends to adopt, and we are providing financial incentives…It’s a statement of our values that every life is important.”
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls spoke and said that every child has a right to life.
“Like many of you, I believe that life is a gift from God,” said Sprowls. “We are blessed to be Floridians because behind me stands the most pro-life governor in America.”
There were several women who gave testimonies regarding the value of protecting life. One adoptive mother’s daughter survived an abortion attempt at 10 ½ weeks. The daughter was born with cerebral palsy and is now in a wheelchair. However, the adoptive mother said, “This life was worth saving.”
Another woman who now serves in DeSantis’ administration, Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Simone Marstiller, got pregnant at 19 years of age. When she went to see her doctor to confirm her pregnancy, he handed her a referral for an abortion facility. Today, she expressed gratitude that she did not kill her child.
Another testimony came from a woman who became pregnant when she was 38 years. The biological father and her parents did not want the child. So this woman drove herself to the hospital have her baby and then drove herself home with her newborn. Today she stated that she “made the right choice.”
HB 5 was signed as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling before the end of June 2022 in Dobbs, MS Health Officer, et al. v Jackson Women’s Health, et al. This case concerns a Mississippi law, known as the “Gestational Age Act,” enacted in 2018 that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks gestation, except in a medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. The High Court could also decide either partially or totally to overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey abortion decisions. Liberty Counsel submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging that it overturn Roe v. Wade.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We applaud Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida legislators for protecting the lives of precious unborn babies. We must continue the fight to make the womb a safe place once again in America. Every child has a God-given inalienable right to life.”