DeSantis Signs Florida’s 6-Week Abortion Ban Into Law

DeSantis Signs Florida’s 6-Week Abortion Ban Into Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., on March 7, 2023. (Cheney Orr/AFP via Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly
4/14/2023
Updated:
4/14/2023
0:00

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis late Thursday signed into law a ban on abortions after six weeks, shortly after the Florida House passed the bill.

“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I applaud the legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
DeSantis’s office released a photo of him signing the bill while several dozen lawmakers look on.

“While other states like California and New York have legalized infanticide up until birth, Governor DeSantis has enacted historic measures to defend the dignity of human life and transform Florida into a pro-family state,” his office stated in a release.

DeSantis previously signed Florida’s 15-week abortion ban into law in 2022 and had indicated he would support further restrictions on the procedure.
The new law will only take effect if the 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is currently before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.
The legislation (pdf) DeSantis signed late Thursday is known as Senate Bill 300, or the Heartbeat Protection Act.

Exceptions

There are exceptions for cases where the abortion is “necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition.” A written determination must be made by two physicians—or one, when another is not available.

Women are also exempted from the ban if their pregnancy is not yet in the third trimester and the unborn child has a “fatal fetal abnormality.” This must also be certified in writing by two physicians.

Furthermore, for victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking, the pregnant woman can obtain an abortion if she is less than 15 weeks. To do so, she has to provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other documentation showing that she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking.

Physicians or anyone found to have “actively” participated in an abortion in violation of the ban face a third-degree felony charge. If the woman dies in the process of an abortion that violates the ban, the person found to have performed or actively participated in the abortion faces a second-degree felony charge.

The new legislation also blocks state funds from being used to help a woman obtain an abortion from another state or using telehealth or mail to receive drugs that induce abortion.

The state House has a Republican supermajority that passed the bill in a 70-40 vote earlier on Thursday. The bill was first passed by the state Senate in a vote of 26-13 on April 3.
Mimi Nguyen Ly covers U.S. and world news.
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