Florida’s New Abortion Law Officially Signed Into Legislation

On Thursday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation prohibiting abortions beyond 15 weeks.

The bill only allows abortions after 15 weeks if there is a “fatal fetal defect,” and there are no exceptions for rape or incest. The rule reduces the amount of time an abortion can be performed by nine weeks, although abortions were previously prohibited in the state after 24 weeks.

DeSantis stressed that the law is just one part of his pro-life agenda, noting that it also includes funding to expand the number of infant mortality review boards across the state.

“If you’re looking at what we’ve done this week, we’re promoting fatherhood in Florida,” DeSantis said. “We want our kids to have dads in the home. We want the fathers present and to take responsibility. It’s the most important thing you can do is to take responsibility for the upbringing of your kids.”

At the bill signing, DeSantis was joined by a large number of pro-life protestors. Some campaigners told of regrettable abortions, while others told of adopting infants who had survived abortion attempts.

“There are two types of people that have led me to speak up,” said Heather Grall-Barwick, who said she had an abortion when she was 21. “The women who say that abortion does not cause mental distress, and the women in their 70s who had abortions and testified that just now they’re able to speak about them and the regret that they have felt for over 40 years.”

“I made a mistake that I cannot change, but I can let others learn from my mistake,” she added.

The law is expected to take effect on July 1st. DeSantis’ decision comes after Texas passed a six-week abortion ban. Last year, Mississippi similarly enacted a 15-week abortion restriction. The Supreme Court has heard challenges to both the Mississippi and Texas laws. The Texas ban will remain in effect while the issue is being decided by the Supreme Court, which is a contentious choice in and of itself.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor chastised her colleagues for allowing the restriction to remain in place until December.

“The chilling effect has been near total, depriving pregnant women in Texas of virtually all opportunity to seek abortion care within their home State after their sixth week of pregnancy,” she said. “The Court instead hides behind a wooden reading of Young, stitching out-of-context quotations into a cover for its failure to act decisively.”

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