By Dave Andrusko
At a press conference today in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked by a reporter if he would “take the lead” on the “heartbeat bill,” which would protect unborn children from abortion once an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected, approximately in the sixth week.
“I’m willing to sign great life legislation,” DeSantis responded. “That’s what I’ve always said I would do.”
On April 14, 2022, Gov. DeSantis signed the “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act” (House Bill 5) into law. DeSantis said “It’s a statement of our values that every life is important.” DeSantis said being able to sign the bill prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks was “really meaningful.”
“We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said Thursday on a stage in Kissimmee, surrounded by lawmakers, pro-life advocates, and children. “This will represent the most significant protections for life that we have seen in a generation.”
House Bill 5 “protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history.”
House Bill 5 was originally supposed to take effect on July 1, before Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper blocked it.
“While we are disappointed with today’s ruling, we know that the pro-life HB 5 will ultimately withstand all legal challenges,” the governor said in a statement. “The Florida Supreme Court previously misinterpreted Florida’s right to privacy as including a right to an abortion, and we reject this interpretation. The Florida Constitution does not include-and has never included-a right to kill an innocent unborn child. We will appeal today’s ruling and ask the Florida Supreme Court to reverse its existing precedent regarding Florida’s right to privacy. The struggle for life is not over.”
Cooper’s injunction was immediately challenged by the state of Florida which fought back within just days. They filed an appeal which placed an automatic stay on Cooper’s ruling keeping the 15-week limit in effect.
On September 7, Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the Florida Supreme Court to “reverse a decades-old position that a privacy clause in the state Constitution protects abortion rights,” according to CBS Miami.
Lawyers in Moody’s office “addressed the issue in a 44-page document arguing that the Supreme Court should reject an effort by abortion clinics and a doctor to block a new law that prevents abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.”
Florida lawmakers will start their next regular 60-day session in March.