Update 4/14/23: Governor Ron DeSantis has signed this bill into law. This law is now referred to as the Heartbeat Protection Act.
Governor DeSantis said, “We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida. I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
A major part of this act is limiting abortions to six weeks in Florida, where it was previously 15 weeks.
In recent years, the state of Florida has taken significant steps in limiting abortion, and with the introduction of Senate Bill 300, more steps will be taken to continue protecting the lives of preborn babies.
Although a rather lengthy bill, below is our best summation of Florida Senate Bill 300: Pregnancy and Parenting, along with key provisions of the legislation and their implications for pregnant women and healthcare providers in Florida.
Key Provisions of the Florida Abortion Legislation
Although a lengthy bill, our team did their best going through the bill to pick out the top issues:
State-funded travel for abortions
The bill restricts the use of state funds for traveling to another state to receive abortion services, with exceptions for federal law requirements or medical necessity.
Tighter ban on abortions
Physicians will be prohibited from performing abortions if a preborn baby is more than six weeks gestational age — previously it was 15 weeks — with certain exceptions like a medical necessity or rape.
In the case of rape, documentation such as a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or document must be presented. If the woman is a minor, the physician is required to report the rape.
A doctor is not permitted to prescribe any drugs meant for medical abortion. These must be personally dispensed by the physician and cannot be sent through the United States Postal Service or any other delivery or courier service. Essentially, the abortion pill cannot be prescribed online or through some form of telemedicine.
Charges for violations
The bill establishes third-degree felony charges for willful violations of the termination of pregnancy regulations and second-degree felony charges if the violation results in the woman’s death.
The Department of Health, through a network of Clinics, will be tasked with offering parenting support services to pregnant women and their families. These services include pregnancy testing, counseling, mentoring, and even education. Plus, they’ll provide material assistance in the forms of diapers, cribs, formula, clothing, and car seats.
Baby remains disposal
Abortion facilities and practitioners are required to ensure the dignified and respectful disposition of fetal remains, in accordance with state regulations. Records of these disposals must be maintained and provided to state inspectors upon request.
Legal Challenges and Implications
This bill further protects the right of preborn babies and encourages alternatives to abortion by informing women of other pregnancy services available to them.
Florida will not be alone in limiting abortions to six weeks, as Georgia and other states either allow abortion up to that time or have a full abortion ban in effect.
They are not alone in limiting abortion pills to only a physician, as Texas, among other states, already does this. In fact, Wyoming is the first state to outlaw abortion pills.
The passage of Florida Senate Bill 300 expands protections for preborn babies across the state. These lives are truly the most vulnerable.
If passed, this legislation may serve as a model for other states seeking to limit abortion access and promote alternatives typically found in the PreBorn! Network Clinics.