Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law last Thursday, April 14, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act or House Bill 5, which protects the state's most vulnerable citizens from abortion after 15 weeks of gestation.
According to the news release on the bill's signing, DeSantis was joined by community leaders and pro-life advocates in the historical signing of HB5 last week. Heads of the state's legislature were also present along with the bill's authors and sponsors. DeSantis announced on Twitter that he signed the bill and included a video clip of the actual signing, which was held in Osceola County in Kissimmee, Florida.
The video clip, which was viewed 243,800 times, showed a group of people behind DeSantis on the stage where he gave his message regarding the bill's signing. Signages on protecting life, women, and children were held by some of the people behind DeSantis.
"We are here today to protect life. We are here today to defend those who can't defend themselves," DeSantis said.
DeSantis explained that 15 weeks of gestation is a time when babies have beating hearts, suck their thumbs, can feel pain, can taste, and already have brain waves. DeSantis stressed that individuals affiliated with the far Left already push the position that babies can be aborted even at full term, which he condemned as infanticide. The governor cited the expose of Daily Wire on the five babies found in the trash in Washington, D.C. and emphasized that he will not let that happen in Florida.
"This will represent the most significant protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation," DeSantis added.
To be in effect on July 1, the law provides exemptions for abortion such as saving the mother's life or preventing a fatal abnormality to the unborn. Cases of rape, human trafficking, and incest are not exemptions given by the law to undergo abortions.
The Florida House of Representatives passed HB5 last February 17 in a 78-39 vote after a 5-hour debate. The Florida Senate approved the bill on March 3 with a 23-15 vote and presented it to the governor last April 14 for signature.
Church Leaders said the law's signing is a blow to abortion access in the South since Florida has provided easier access to the procedure as compared to its neighbors in the region. The state currently allows abortion up to 24 weeks.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there were around 72,000 abortions conducted in Florida in 2019 and 2% of them were performed after 15 weeks of gestation. The number excludes the 2,256 abortions conducted in Florida for out-of-state residents. From these out-of-state abortions, almost half or 1,200 came from Georgia, 300 from Alabama, and the rest came from other origins.
Florida Representative Erin Grall, who introduced the bill to the House last January, expressed pride in working with great leaders to pass HB5. Grall highlighted that the bill's signing meant that Florida is moving forward in creating a culture that not only protects life but also values and defends it. During the bill's signing, she condemned abortion as a barbaric act and expressed joy to end it.
"I know our state values the rights of the unborn and ensures that a life remains a life, whether planned or unplanned, wanted or unwanted, in the womb or outside of the womb," Grall said.