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DeSantis signs 6-week abortion bill hours after passed by FL House

Governor Ron DeSantis along with First Lady Casey DeSantis, at his inauguration in Tallahassee. Photo: Ron DeSantis / Twitter
Governor Ron DeSantis along with First Lady Casey DeSantis, at his inauguration in Tallahassee. Photo: Ron DeSantis / Twitter

Governor Ron DeSantis wasted no time in signing the 6-week abortion ban bill hours after the Florida House of Representatives passed it Thursday evening. However, its future depends on the Florida Supreme Court's decision regarding a previous ban.

“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a press release. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”

The Florida House passed Senate Bill 300 in a vote of 70 to 40. The bill was signed one day before the 1-year anniversary of Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the 15-week ban into law. DeSantis has previously stated he will sign a 6-week ban and is expected to do so soon.

“One year since that he signed to that like a Hispanic church on Easter Week. So, you know, I would not be surprised if he did it as soon as possible like you did last year?” said Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro, the executive director of the Access Florida Network, which provides abortion support to women in need.

The six-week ban will not take effect until the Florida Supreme Court reviews an appeal against the current 15-week ban, which was filed by Planned Parenthood and argues the original ban is unconstitutional due to a right to privacy guaranteed in Florida’s constitution.

Thursday's Florida House was in session for nearly eight hours prior to the bill’s passing, during which House Democrats argued the ban is unconstitutional and doesn’t address problems such as children in foster care who may not realize they’re pregnant within 6 weeks.

Opponents of the bill proposed 48 amendments some seeking funding for rape crisis centers and mental health counseling. All of them were shot down.

Among them, Orlando representative, Democrat, Anna Eskamani introduced an amendment that would rename the bill from the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Act to "the Forced Pregnancy Act."

"That's basically what it does," Eskamini said. "(This bill) will not only ban abortion during a period where folks do not know they're pregnant at six weeks but it forces you into pregnancy in a state that has a broken foster care system. A state that has no liveable wage. A state that continuously defunds social safety nets."

Brevard Republican Rep. Randy Fine voted favorably for the bill but said he took no joy in speaking about the issue as he could see the argument from both sides but ultimately sided with "the rights of an unborn child." Fine also admitted, as a practicing Jew, his faith does tolerate abortion.

"There is a part of the Jewish faith when an abortion is mandatory. When is that? It's when the life of the mother is at risk. This bill does not restrict that choice. If it did, I would not be able to vote for it," Fine said.

The House session took a 10-minute recess after protesters interrupted throwing torn-up paper and shouting during the proceedings. One man can be heard shouting "anarchy."

The legislature’s decision is an extreme disappointment, Piñeiro said.

“We are disheartened that our lawmakers have prioritized banning abortion rather than many of the other ailments that our Floridians are facing but we're not surprised by this decision,” Piñeiro said.

Despite the bill's passing Piñeiro is determined to keep helping women in need, going as far as to send women to other states where abortion beyond six weeks is legal.

"We're committed to ensuring that Floridians will continue to have access to abortion no matter what," she said.

Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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