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Abortion bill headed to Governor’s desk

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Legislation that forbids Florida physicians from aborting fetuses that are 15-weeks old or more has cleared the Florida legislature and is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis to be signed into law.

HB5 the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act was introduced into the Florida House by Rep. Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) and co-introduced by Rep. Ralph Massullo, MD (R-Beverly Hills) and others. The bill does not contain exceptions for rape or incest, but does allow abortions in cases where the pregnancy threatens the health of the mother, or if a fetus has a fatal defect. State Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) introduced a twin bill into the State Senate.

HB 5 cleared the Florida House of Representatives on Feb. 17 by a vote of 78 to 39.

After vigorous debate and the failure of more than a dozen amendments the State Senate passed the bill on March 3 by a 23 to 15 margin.

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Detractors of the measure have long argued that the measure severely limits healthcare options for women, and that in some cases doctors may not be able to detect abnormalities in fetuses that are 15-weeks-old.

During a March 4 press conference in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the provisions contained in the bill are appropriate.

“These are late-term (abortions) – these are protections for babies that have heartbeats, that can feel pain,” DeSantis said. “I think that the protections are warranted and I think we will be able to sign that in short order.”

Following DeSantis’ signature, HB5 goes into effect on July 1.

“Clearly it will be signed into law by then,” DeSantis said.

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