By Dave Andrusko
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Late Thursday night, the Florida Senate joined their colleagues in the Florida House in support of a bill that would protect unborn babies after the 15th week, with narrow exceptions. HB 5 passed the House by a vote of 78-39 and the Senate by a 23-15.
At a news conference today, Gov. DeSantis said he would sign the bill.
The law would take effect on July 1. Florida currently allows abortions up until 24 weeks.
The “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act” (House Bill 5) is modeled after but is not identical to Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act.” On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in that case. A decision is expected in June.
A 15-week ban on abortions is also being considered in Arizona and West Virginia.
“A child in the womb is the most vulnerable person in the world because they’re utterly helpless,” Senator Danny Burgess, said before Thursday’s vote. “They have no voice, they have no vote. They rely on another person for everything, and they still matter.”
According to Patricia Mazzei and Alexandra Glorioso of The New York Times, “In Florida, proponents of banning abortions after 15 weeks have argued that there is significant fetal development by that point. They have also explicitly cited the Mississippi case and said they want Florida to be in position to reduce the number of abortions right away after a ruling upholding that law.”
Rep. Erin Grall, who sponsored the House bill, agreed on both counts.
“Working within that infrastructure of 15 weeks gives Florida its best opportunity to save a significant number of babies, very quickly, after the court’s decision,” Grall said last month. “The Supreme Court’s weighing of the Mississippi law was a factor in the decision to propose the 15-week restriction.”
“I never dreamed I’d be standing here today, but actually being able to save the life of babies,” GOP Sen. Kelli Stargel told legislators. “God is so good” .