Florida Senate Passes 6-Week Heartbeat Abortion Ban

The Florida State Senate passed a bill Monday which would ban abortions after six-weeks of pregnancy — around the time when a baby’s heartbeat can first be detected.

“For decades now, Florida has been a nationwide leader in defending the rights of the unborn. The Heartbeat Protection Act will make Florida a beacon of hope for those who understand that life is sacred and must be protected,” SB 300 sponsor Sen. Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) said in a statement. 

“This bill represents an unprecedented opportunity to protect innocent life, and to stand with the brave moms who choose life for their babies. For 50 years, it was legal in this country to kill unborn children, and during that time, abortion has touched every single one of us. We have to grieve for what we have done as a country. This bill makes certain our laws reflect the strongest protections for innocent life,” Grall continued. 

The bill would move the limit on abortion from 15 weeks to six weeks, with limited exceptions. Those exceptions include rape or incest, preserving the life of the mother, or a fatal fetal abnormality in a pregnancy that has not entered the third trimester. The bill also requires abortions to be performed in person by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician, meaning medication abortion must be dispensed in person and not by mail. 

The bill additionally includes $25 million to expand services provided by state-contracted crisis pregnancy centers. Some of these services include pregnancy testing and counseling, as well as material assistance like clothing, car seats, cribs, formula, and diapers.

“Nearly one quarter of Florida’s abortions were sought for ‘social or economic reasons’ last year. Research also shows over 60 percent of women who have abortions report pressure, whether because of finances, a male partner, or other source — surely we can all agree that is not what free ‘choice’ looks like. With $25 million in funding for life-affirming nonprofits, more moms will receive the support they need to thrive during pregnancy and beyond,” SBA Pro-Life America’s State Policy Director Katie Daniel said in an emailed statement following the senate vote. 

Lawmakers approved the bill 26-13 mostly along party lines, with Republican Sens. Alexis Calatayud of Miami and Corey Simon of Tallahassee siding with Democrats against the bill. House Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis are “expected to approved the measure in the coming weeks,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat

“But even with the governor’s signature, the ban has another hurdle to clear before it can go into effect. It all depends on how the Florida Supreme Court rules in a lawsuit challenging last year’s 15-week ban and whether the court will overturn decades of precedent that a right to privacy in the state Constitution applies to abortion. That decision isn’t expected until after the lawmaking session ends in May,” according to the report. 

The Tallahassee Democrat noted that the bill  would have “wide-reaching implications” for women in nearby states with stricter abortion bans who comes to Florida to obtains abortions under the state’s current 15-week ban. 

As Breitbart News previously reported, Florida has become an abortion-destination state, with 6,708 abortions performed on out-of-state patients in 2022, up from 4,873 in 2021, and 3,988 in 2020, according to state data.

The overall number of abortions has grown as well, as the state continues to grow in population. In 2022, there were 82,192 total abortions, 75,118 of which were in the first trimester, and 7,074 in the second trimester, according to the AHCA. In 2021, there were 79,817 total abortions, 74,967 of which were in the first trimester, and 4,850 in the second trimester. The year 2020 saw 74,868 total abortions, with 70,594 in the first trimester and 4,274 in the second trimester. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has indicated that he will sign additional pro-life legislation. When asked about pro-life legislation earlier this year, DeSantis said, “We’re for pro-life.”

“I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff, and we will sign,” he continued, adding that it is “what I’ve always wanted to do.”

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