- Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 300, known as the Heartbeat Protection Act, prohibiting abortion procedures in Florida after the sixth week of pregnancy.
- The legislation includes exceptions for cases of rape or incest up to the fifteenth week of pregnancy, which were not part of last year’s original abortion regulation.
- The bill also prevents the use of public funds to transport individuals out of state for abortion services and allocates $25 million in appropriations for parental assistance services and $5 million for family planning services.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 300 — known as the Heartbeat Protection Act — late Thursday night, effectively prohibiting abortion procedures in Florida following the sixth week of pregnancy.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Erin Grall, includes provisions that permit abortion procedures in cases where the individual is a victim of rape or incest up to the fifteenth week of pregnancy, which were not part of last year’s original abortion regulation. DeSantis expressed support for these exceptions in response to previous inquiries.
“I think those exceptions are sensible, and as I said, we welcome pro-life legislation,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis signed House Bill 5 into law last year, restricting abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy. The bill allowed for exceptions in the instance of medical necessity or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality, but did not allow exemptions in cases of rape, incest, or human trafficking.
The six-week measure also prevents any person, governmental entity, or educational institution from utilizing public funds to transport an individual to another state to receive services intended to terminate a pregnancy.
It also grants $25 million in appropriations to establish a series of parental assistance services, which, according to the bill, would promote and encourage childbirth through nonmedical material assistance, counseling, and classes regarding pregnancy, among others. An additional $5 million in recurring general revenue is appropriated for family planning services provided by the Department of Health.
The bill was quickly scorned by Democrats, including Sen. Lauren Book, who unsuccessfully lobbied lawmakers last year alongside Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo to introduce rape and incest exceptions.
“This dangerous ban turns back the clock on women’s rights — bringing the government into exam rooms and criminalizing women and their doctors over private healthcare decisions.,” said Book. “This is not freedom.”
A University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab poll conducted last month indicates that the measure is generally opposed in Florida, with 62 percent of respondents stating that they strongly oppose the measure, including 84 percent of Democrat, 40 percent of Republican, and 63 percent of independent participants.