Today, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 5, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, to protect the lives of Florida’s most vulnerable by prohibiting all abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. More on Governor DeSantis’ pro-family initiatives can be found here.
“House Bill 5 protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, who can taste, who can see, and who can feel pain,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history.”
HB 5 prohibits an abortion after an unborn child has reached 15 weeks of gestation. While other states such as California and Colorado are taking extreme measures against the right to life by passing legislation which denies babies in the womb any rights or protections and provides for unrestricted abortions on demand until point of birth, Florida continues to move in a pro-life direction.
In June of 2020, Governor DeSantis signed SB 404, legislation which requires written consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian for an abortion. Last year, Governor DeSantis signed SB 2518, which helps to reduce maternal mortality rates and improve health outcomes for new mothers and children by extending postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months post-delivery. And after seven years of legal challenges by pro-abortion activists and activist judges, Florida’s 24-hour waiting period was upheld and reinstated by a circuit court judge earlier this week.
HB 5 amends several other sections of law with the aim of further reducing fetal and infant mortality. This bill adds a requirement to the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program to target information towards pregnant women and women who may become pregnant and requires the Department of Health (DOH) to contract with local Healthy Start coalitions to establish fetal and infant mortality review (FIMR) committees in all regions of the state. Each FIMR committee is required to:
- Review and analyze rates, trends, causes, and other data related to fetal and infant mortality and morbidity in its geographic area.
- Develop findings and recommendations for interventions and policy changes to reduce fetal and infant mortality and morbidity rates.
- Engage with local communities and stakeholders to implement recommended policies and procedures to reduce fetal and infant mortality and morbidity.
HB 5 appropriates $1,602,000 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 to DOH for this purpose and requires all hospitals that provide birthing services to participate in at least two quality initiatives developed in collaboration with the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative (FPQC) within the University of South Florida College of Public Health.
Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed groundbreaking legislation to support fatherhood in Florida. HB 7065, which includes educational programs, mentorship programs, and one-on-one support to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida. The bill is tied to nearly $70 million in funding to provide a wide spectrum of family and youth support through the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
The combination of these measures sends a strong message that the State of Florida is truly focused on putting Florida families first.