Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Thursday banning late-term abortions after 15 weeks gestation.
The law, HB 5, allows exceptions when the mother’s life is at risk or in danger of “irreversible physical impairment,” or if the unborn baby has a fetal abnormality. It does not offer exceptions for rape.
“We are here today to protect life,” DeSantis said Thursday ahead of the bill signing. “We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves.”
“This is a time when these babies have beating hearts, they can move, they can taste, they can see, they can feel pain, they can suck their thumbs, and they have brain waves,” he added, referring to babies who are 15 weeks or older. “And so this will represent the most significant protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation.”
The Florida governor signed HB 5 as pro-life activists and Republican lawmakers push for officials to investigate the abortions of five preemie-sized babies that activists say they intercepted outside a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic.
D.C. officials have indicated they will not perform autopsies on the babies, prompting Republicans like Texas Rep. Chip Roy to question whether “Mayor Bowser and her radically pro-abortion cronies” are avoiding autopsies for ideological reasons.
DeSantis strongly criticized Democratic lawmakers who advocate for aborting babies up until nine months of pregnancy.
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