Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 14, 2022 / 14:12 pm (CNA).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill protecting the unborn from abortion after 15 weeks gestation on Thursday. During his remarks, he referred to the aborted babies recently found in Washington, D.C.
“What we’re doing today is saying that we will not let that happen in the state of Florida,” the Republican politician said.
Anti-abortion activists Lauren Handy and Terrisa Bukovinac of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) first told reporters on April 5 that they obtained 115 aborted babies from a driver for a medical waste company outside a D.C. abortion clinic, Washington Surgi-Clinic, with the intention of giving the unborn children a dignified funeral and burial.
Five of the babies, who appear to be of late-term gestation, were located by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on March 30. PAAU says it arranged for the D.C. police to collect and examine the babies, fearing that the babies’ injuries could be evidence of illegal abortions.
Since then, lawmakers have sent multiple letters calling for a full investigation and autopsies of the babies’ bodies. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has given no indication that the city intends to autopsy the remains.
DeSantis addressed what he called a “terrible scandal.”
“They found all these remains of babies, and they found five who were basically infants, premature, they would have been, but they would have been able to survive outside the womb,” he said. “Yet Washington, D.C. is treating that just like we would treat the trash from our lunch or something like that.”
“It’s really horrifying to see that that could go on in our country, but particularly in our nation’s capital,” he concluded.
DeSantis signed into law House Bill 5 in Kissimmee, Florida. The legislation bans abortions in that state after an unborn baby reaches 15 weeks gestation, except to save the life or physical health of the mother and in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities.
“We’re here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said. “This will represent the most significant protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation.”
In addition to providing protections for the unborn, DeSantis highlighted that the legislation expands efforts to reduce fetal-infant mortality cases and works to improve hospitals’ prenatal care.
Previously, Florida law barred abortion after 24 weeks.
The Florida bishops’ conference lauded the legislation, commenting that the bishops “are grateful for Governor DeSantis’ commitment to defend unborn children and their mothers. The governor’s leadership and support for a prohibition on abortions after 15 weeks gestation encouraged the legislature to take up and pass HB 5. We applaud his approval of this historic law.”
“We also commend Florida’s legislative leaders and especially bill sponsors, Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Representative Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach), who courageously accomplished the difficult task of advancing the bill through the committee process and floor debate in the Florida House and Senate,” the bishops continued. “While there is still work to be done, today’s bill signing marks significant progress towards full legal recognition of unborn children. Additionally, the bishops of Florida remain committed to supporting mothers in need during their pregnancies through parishes and other ministries, and the network of pregnancy centers across Florida.”
And pro-life leaders such as Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised DeSantis and Florida legislators for the new law.
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have delivered a milestone victory for women and children,” she said in a press release Thursday. “The legislation enacted today may save more than 3,300 lives a year by protecting unborn children, as well as their mothers, from cruel and dangerous late abortions.”
She concluded, “As we await a decision in the Dobbs case, momentum is growing across America to modernize our extreme abortion laws.”
The new Florida law comes as the Supreme Court prepares to decide a highly-anticipated case, Dobbs v. Jackson, which involves a 2018 Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. The case could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, and leave abortion up to each individual state.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!