Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act into law on Thursday, banning abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy in the state.
Sponsors of the law in the Florida Senate are citing scientific findings on the development of babies, with research indicating those aborted 15 weeks into pregnancy can in fact feel pain.
“This bill safeguards innocent, unborn children with beating hearts, who can move, taste, see, feel pain, and whose lives should be protected under the laws of this state,” said Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican.
DeSantis signed the bill into law in a ceremony with some of Florida’s leading pro-life activists.
The ceremony took place at Nacion de Fe, a church in Kissimmee.
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The law contains exceptions for abortions after 15 weeks in the case that the mother’s health is threatened or if the child possesses a “fatal fetal abnormality,” both rare occurrences. Abortions after 15 weeks are rare.
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Florida previously recognized 24 weeks into pregnancy as the cutoff for legal abortion.
Andrew Shirvel, the founder of Florida Voice for the Unborn, estimates that the law will prevent as many as 5,000 unsafe abortions every year, according to LifeSiteNews.
The ban on post-15 week abortions goes into effect on July 1.
The abortion ban follows a series of pro-life laws enacted in red states.
Restrictions on abortion in states such as Texas and Oklahoma have become a target of ire from progressive Democrats, who believe abortions should be legal up until the day of a child’s birth.
President Joe Biden has routinely slammed state pro-life measures, with liberal groups pledging to attack the policies in the courts.
The law also appropriates $1,602,000 for state hospitals to provide birthing services. The law creates new procedures for Florida’s Department of Health to counteract infant mortality in the state.