Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday the state would enhance its pro-life protections, while applauding the high court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“By properly interpreting the Constitution, the prayers of millions have been answered,” DeSantis said in a June 24 Twitter post in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to undo Roe v. Wade, following a leaked draft majority opinion in May. The landmark 1973 ruling decriminalized abortion nationwide for the past 50 years.
“Florida will continue to defend its recently enacted pro-life reforms against state court challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care, and child welfare,” the statement continues, providing no further details on how the state will act in response.
A new Florida abortion law was scheduled to take effect on July 1 in a bid to protect fetal rights, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. DeSantis signed House Bill 5, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, into law in mid-April, banning most abortions after 15 weeks unless such procedures are to save a mother’s life or out of medical necessity, or the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
Democrats and pro-abortion activists have fired back at the ruling, seeing it as an attack on reproductive rights. A Boynton Beach congregation and affiliates of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have filed lawsuits to challenge Florida’s new law.
The governor’s office said in a statement that it is “confident that this law will ultimately withstand all legal challenges.” Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said on Twitter that such attempts are an “additional hurdle” for the 15-week ban.
Meanwhile, the state’s Senate President Wilton Simpson praised the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
“As an adopted child myself, I am grateful for this decision. The court is finally righting a grievous wrong,” Simpson said.
“A woman who puts her newborn up for adoption has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home,” he posted on June 24, citing the court’s opinion. “In Florida, we value pro-life, pro-family policies that protect unborn babies & support kids, parents, & caring adults willing to raise a child who is not their own.”
Recording the third-highest rate nationwide, Florida now allows legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. According to Politico, an increasing number of more than 4,800 people came to the state to receive abortions last year, as neighboring Alabama legislated tougher measures in 2019.