The six-week abortion restriction was passed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In a late-night Thursday news release, DeSantis, 44, stated, “We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida.”
“I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families,” he continued. Abortions would be legal under the new law, but only if doing so would save the pregnant woman’s life.
According to the Associated Press, pregnant women due to rape or incest could get an abortion up until the 15th week of pregnancy if they can provide a restraining order or police report. The law was passed precisely one year after the governor of Florida signed a statute banning abortions beyond 15 weeks.
A legal challenge to that law is currently pending before the Florida State Supreme Court. If the earlier 15-week law is upheld, the new law won’t take effect. The White House responded to the news that the law had been passed in Florida on Thursday with its statement.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that “this ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant.”
“This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care,” the statement continued.
In the South, where neighboring states like Georgia and Alabama already have tight limits, the new law has ramifications for everyone. According to the AP, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have laws that forbid abortion at all stages of pregnancy.
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Georgia also prohibits abortions after six weeks, when a heartbeat may be heard. The signature by DeSantis appears to pave the way for his widely anticipated declaration that he will run for president in 2024.
However, the right leader’s legislative success goes against the views of most Floridians and Americans who favor keeping access to abortion. A University of North Florida poll conducted in February showed 61% of Republicans and 75% of state citizens were against the six-week moratorium.