Last Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the state’s Heartbeat Protection Act that prohibits most abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks gestation, CNS News reported.
During the bill signing, the governor said Florida is “proud to support life and family.” He applauded the Florida legislature for passing the bill to expand protections for the unborn while providing “additional resources for young mothers and families.”
In a statement, the governor’s office noted that as other states like New York and California have made abortion legal “until birth,” DeSantis has “enacted historic measures” defending the “dignity of human life” while transforming Florida “into a pro-family state.”
In the Heartbeat Protection Act, doctors are prohibited from knowingly performing abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy, unless the woman seeking the abortion is a victim of incest, rape, or human trafficking.
Women seeking an exemption to the 6-week limit are required to provide documentation, like a police report, medical records, a copy of a restraining order, or other court orders or documentation that would be evidence that she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking.
The new law also limits the dispensing of abortion pills to a physician, prohibiting the drugs to be dispensed through the US Postal Service or other shipping or courier services.
Additionally, the Heartbeat Protection Act will allocate $25 million in state funding to Florida pregnancy centers that provide pregnancy tests, medical exams, counseling, ultrasounds, and parenting classes for free. Pregnancy centers also provide financial classes and other resources, including diapers, clothing, food, and financial assistance for rent and utilities.
When the Heartbeat Protection Act goes into effect, however, remains an open question.
The timing depends on a lawsuit currently in the Florida Supreme Court over the state’s previous pro-life legislation enacted last year that limited abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, CBS News reported.
The 15-week pro-life law is still in effect as the state Supreme Court considers when it will hear the case.