Pro-life groups based in Florida, including Priests for Life, have been looking forward – and lobbying for – what happened yesterday, namely, the passage of the Heartbeat Bill, protecting babies from when their heartbeat can first be detected.
This law does not yet go into effect, however. It is written with a “trigger” mechanism that depends on upcoming decisions of the Florida Supreme Court. Fortunately, that Court is strongly conservative, and also has the precedent of Dobbs in abortion-related matters.
Last year, Gov DeSantis signed the bill protecting babies at 15 weeks. Though it was immediately challenged in Court, it was allowed to be enforced while that case is being decided. In the mix here, the Florida Supreme Court is weighing past decisions regarding a “privacy” clause that has been used to strike down pro-life laws in the past.
This is where Dobbs comes in. In its brilliant and comprehensive historical analysis, Dobbs points out that aside from Roe, the right to privacy in America has never been invoked to take someone’s life. You can claim privacy to decide whom you will marry or what languages you want your children to learn, but not to decide to kill somebody.
I’m confident that the Florida Court will rule the right way.
We in Florida do not want our state to be an “abortion-destination” state, which is what has emerged thanks to the protections our neighboring states give to unborn children from early in pregnancy. Florida has also been plagued for a long time with many abortion mills, notorious abortionists, and late-term procedures.
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Praise God, all of that is coming to an end.
Yesterday, the Florida House spent all day debating the Heartbeat bill. A few lessons emerged.
First, the other side, in its desperation and lack of any meritorious arguments, turned again to insurrection, throwing trash on the House floor and forcing the closing of the chamber to outsiders.
Second, Democrats introduced some 50 frivolous amendments, all of which – to the credit of the Republican majority – were rejected.
And third, not a single Democrat voted for the bill. We see this pattern, with few exceptions, across the nation on the state and federal level. While the protection of life should be a bipartisan matter, in reality it is not. The Democrat Party is totally sold out to the abortion industry.
A final consideration is Governor DeSantis. There have been competing opinion pieces recently on whether his support of the Heartbeat bill helps or hurts any presidential aspirations he may have. It’s an important question, not just for him, but for the 2024 race generally.
The answer to it largely depends on the pro-life movement. The bill’s name is part of the strategy, pioneered by Janet (Folger) Porter. Everyone knows what a heartbeat is. “Abortion stops a beating heart” has long been known as one of the most effective slogans in our movement. Naming these bills based on commonly-known words that invoke the humanity of the child works to gain public support. When people are told that by the time the heartbeat can be detected, it has already beat over a million times, they are even more convinced that these babies should be protected earlier than they may have thought.
The same is true of “Pain” or “Dismemberment” bills. The tide is turning, Americans are waking up, and Presidential campaigns can benefit from this provided they don’t run away from the issue.
In contrast to the big public event Governor DeSantis held last year that I was privileged to attend in an Orlando Church to sign the 15-week bill, this signing was done quickly and relatively quietly in his Tallahassee office. That may have been done out of concern for safety and security, which is understandable. But what was done, advancing the protection of the unborn and their families, needs to be shouted from the rooftops, celebrated, and replicated across America!