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Governor DeSantis Signs Bill Banning All Abortions in Florida After 15 Weeks; Effective July 1

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Photo courtesy flgov.com
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House Bill 5, the 'Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act', does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.

Kissimmee-April 14, 2022: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits all abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of gestation. The new law goes into effect on July 1.
House Bill 5, the 'Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.

The Republican governor signed the legislation at a news conference in Kissimmee Thursday morning.

The bill signing comes amid a growing conservative push across the country to restrict abortion ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit access to abortions nationwide. The new law also marks a significant blow to abortion access in the South. Florida had been providing wider access to the procedure than its regional neighbors. Under the previous law, Florida allowed abortions up to 24 weeks.

Reaction:

Florida NOW (National Organization for Women) President Debbie Deland - This regressive bill is the most restrictive abortion bill ever faced by Floridians. "This has, of course, long been the strategy of anti-abortion leaders, such as DeSantis, forcing patients further into pregnancy – and then banning access to abortion later in pregnancy."

Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavine - "“At Priests for Life today, we are all proud to be Floridians" and, “all indications from the Supreme Court point to Mississippi’s 15-week law being upheld, paving the way for this protection for our unborn brothers and sisters in Florida and other states whose legislators recognize the sanctity of life."

Progress Florida Program Director Amy Weintraub - "Floridians deserve better ... cruel bans that result in medical care being criminalized are harmful and unnecessary” and, "politicians have no business getting between a patient and their doctor ... the ban will deny Floridians free access to a needed health care service."

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Council Denise Harle - “Every human life is valuable and worthy of protection. By signing HB 5, Gov. DeSantis has taken a strong stand for the protection of innocent life and true health care for women. This legislation advances Florida’s important interest in protecting the lives of unborn children."

Other provisions of HB 5

HB 5 amends several other sections of law with the aim of further reducing fetal and infant mortality. It adds a requirement to the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program to target information towards pregnant women and women who may become pregnant and requires the Department of Health (DOH) to contract with local Healthy Start coalitions to establish fetal and infant mortality review (FIMR) committees in all regions of the state. Each FIMR committee is required to:

  • Review and analyze rates, trends, causes, and other data related to fetal and infant mortality and morbidity in its geographic area.
  • Develop findings and recommendations for interventions and policy changes to reduce fetal and infant mortality and morbidity rates.
  • Engage with local communities and stakeholders to implement recommended policies and procedures to reduce fetal and infant mortality and morbidity.

HB 5 appropriates $1,602,000 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 to DOH for this purpose and requires all hospitals that provide birthing services to participate in at least two quality initiatives developed in collaboration with the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative (FPQC) within the University of South Florida College of Public Health.