Florida became the latest state to enact a heartbeat abortion ban after Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 300, the Heartbeat Protection Act, into law on Thursday. The law includes exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. State law already included exceptions for the life and health of the mother up to 15 weeks, which the new law does not change.
“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a press release. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
Some might say it was a risky move for DeSantis to sign the legislation, as commentators argue that such a boldly pro-life move will hurt his chances to become president in 2024. As abortion battles are waged in the courts, it may take some time for the legislation to go into effect.
“Last year, DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that is currently before the Florida Supreme Court,” NBC reports. “The six-week ban will be on hold until the court rules on that proposal.”
The good news is that the law doesn’t just limit abortion; it also expands other pro-life protections in the state, adding to the overall culture of life. Patrick T. Brown, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, points out that the law “increases state funding for the Pregnancy Care Network” from $4 million to $25 million. The law describes the network as “the not-for-profit statewide alliance of pregnancy support organizations that provide pregnancy support and wellness services through a comprehensive system of care to women and their families.”
DeSantis has also previously signed legislation that “helps reduce maternal mortality rates by extending postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months post-delivery,” according to his office.
Legislators in the state are hopeful that this latest move is an important step toward changing the culture in the state.
“For the past 50 years, we’ve had a culture grow in this nation—a culture of abortion for any reason at any time,” said state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who cosponsored the legislation, before the vote. “Today we lead. Today we stand for life. We stand with mothers, and we stand with Florida families. And by your vote today, we change the culture of abortion to a culture of life.”