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Tipsheet

Despite the Naysayers, Ron DeSantis Stands Up for Life and Signs Heartbeat Bill

AP Photo/Phil Sears

On Thursday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed the Heartbeat Protection Act which bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at about six weeks. There are exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking. The legislation had passed the state House earlier on Thursday, after passing the state Senate earlier in April. 

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The governor highlighted at the bill signing how the law "provides additional resources for young mothers and families." A press release also drew stark contrast to how pro-life Florida is becoming while liberal states have legalized abortion up until birth:

While other states like California and New York have legalized infanticide up until birth, Governor DeSantis has enacted historic measures to defend the dignity of human life and transform Florida into a pro-family state. In 2022, Governor DeSantis signed groundbreaking legislation to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida through educational programs, mentorship programs, and one-on-one support. Also in 2022, Governor DeSantis signed SB 7034, which expands support for foster parents and opportunities for foster children. In 2021, Governor DeSantis signed SB 2518, which helps reduce maternal mortality rates by extending postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months post-delivery.

The bill signing came even as the pro-life governor faced pressure not only from the pro-abortion movement, but from fellow conservative figures. Chatter from Twitter suggested it would fare badly for DeSantis' future political ambitions, with the governor being expected to announce his run for president sometime after the legislative session ends in May.

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DeSantis still has the enthusiastic support of the pro-life movement, though. 

In the days before the bill passed, Vice President of Media & Policy at Students for Life Action Kristi Hamrick told Townhall how abortion shows the "greatest distinction between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party," especially when it comes to how radically pro-abortion Democrats are. "The Democratic Party has embraced abortion radicalism so extremely they won’t even condemn infanticide," Hamrick shared, adding that the party "has no perspective on what kind of limits Americans want on abortion."

Hamrick spoke to support for banning abortion once a heartbeat is detected because it has a base, given that the heartbeat is seen as the sign of life.

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Vinea Research poll findings from 2022 for Students for Life's Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement mentions support for heartbeat bans. Emphasis is original:

The Universal Sign of Life – a Heartbeat – moves Millennials & Gen. Z.  

  • The universal sign of life – a heartbeat – matters to Millennials and Gen Z. Now 52% indicated that after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, they want either no abortion at all or abortion only with exceptions made for rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. That is up from 47% in 2021.
  • MORE THAN HALF of Millennials and Gen Z would support a ban on abortion when a heartbeat is detected (52% to 48%).
  • And 2 out of 3 Millennials and Gen Z would support requiring a doctor to check for a heartbeat before an abortion. (This year’s 65% in support is up from last year at 60%).

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America also supports the legislation. On Monday, E.V. Osment, the vice president of communications for the organization had an opinion piece published in Newsweek, "Ignore the Democrats' Lies. A Heartbeat Bill Can Only Help DeSantis Become President."

Caitlin Connors, the southern regional director for SBA Pro-Life America also provided a statement to Townhall hours before the bill passed the House. "Governor DeSantis has his finger on the pulse of the people’s will. When the Florida legislature passed protections for unborn children at 15 weeks of pregnancy, Governor DeSantis signed it into law and the voters rewarded him for his leadership by re-electing him with a 19% margin and a supermajority in both chambers," she said. 

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Connors also spoke to how other elected officials should follow what the voters want. "The majority of Floridians desire to protect unborn children with beating hearts, including women, Independents, and three in four Hispanics. The Florida legislature and Governor DeSantis are doing what they were elected to do, working hard to protect unborn children from abortion once their heartbeat can be detected and providing critical funds to moms and babies in need throughout the state. Voters have made it clear if you follow through on your promises and enact the will of the people it will pay dividends on election night. All elected officials should take note," she added. 

SBA Pro-Life America also included Gov. DeSantis in a recent memo from earlier this week and shortly after last November's elections when praising Republicans who easily won reelection in 2022, which he did by nearly 20 points, by embracing the pro-life movement rather than trying to run away from it. 

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It's been a banner week for the pro-life movement. Also on Thursday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s abortion ruling from last Friday that suspended changes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made in 2016 and 2021 that made the chemical abortion method less regulated and thus less safe for women. 

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