TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this week said he’d sign a law banning abortions at six weeks in the Sunshine State if such a bill were to land on his desk.
DeSantis made the remarks during a Wednesday press conference in which he spoke about Florida’s 2023-2024 budget, according to local news reports.
Asked whether he would sign a six-week abortion ban or a “constitutional carry” bill, which would allow Floridians to carry concealed firearms without needing a permit, DeSantis said yes to both.
“I’ve said on both of those, we are for constitutional carry, we’re for pro-life,” DeSantis told reporters. “I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff and we will sign.”
Governor DeSantis said if the heartbeat bill hits his desk, he will sign it. https://t.co/1dE3GTxWmx pic.twitter.com/AaXxn4nbuU
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) February 1, 2023
Jeremy Redfern, deputy press secretary for DeSantis’ office, shared a statement with LifeSiteNews on Thursday affirming that “[a]s Governor DeSantis said, we are better when everybody counts, and we will continue to defend our pro-life protections.”
The statement pointed to DeSantis’ response to a similar question during a December press conference. Asked about whether he would sign a potential heartbeat bill, the governor said, “I’m willing to sign great [pro]-life legislation. That’s what I’ve always said I would do.”
According to DeSantis’ office, “The Declaration of Independence promises three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and we stand for all of them.”
Florida Right to Life president Lynda Bell told LifeSiteNews Thursday that her organization isn’t “surprised that our pro-life Governor stated he would sign… a Heartbeat Bill.”
She said Florida Right to Life “looks forward to proposing, lobbying for and supporting pro life legislation in 2023.”
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Democrats were already beginning to pick up on the “buzz” around a potential six-week abortion ban in the Sunshine State late last year, following the summer’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) noted in October that while DeSantis was staying tight-lipped in pre-election interactions with the press, legislative leaders reportedly already had their eye on more expansive legislation to protect the unborn.
READ: Pro-life activists in Florida launch effort to ban abortion through state constitutional amendment
Meanwhile, DeSantis’ recent affirmations of his plans to sign robust pro-life legislation come as the state government’s more modest April 2022 15-week abortion ban continues to undergo court challenges.
Late last month, the Florida Supreme Court gave the ban the green light for continued enforcement until a final verdict on its constitutionality is rendered.
The success of the 15-week abortion ban is seen by the DeSantis administration as a crucial hurdle to clear before pursuing further pro-life action.
Last July, the governor’s office issued a statement to LifeSiteNews that pointed to an earlier statement explaining that “future legislative action necessarily depends on the resolution of” legal challenges to the 15-week law, and that “[w]e are in continuous contact with the legislature as this litigation proceeds, and we look forward to future policy plans to defend the unborn.”
READ: DeSantis’ office assures further protections for the unborn, rebukes media claims of abortion silence
“The pending state legal battle must necessarily be resolved before future legislative action can occur,” DeSantis spokesperson Bryan Griffin said. “The governor’s office has filed a motion to certify the appeal for immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court.”
Griffin said the administration believes the state Supreme Court had been wrong to previously interpret the state constitution as protecting a “right” to abortion.
“The Florida Constitution does not include – and has never included – a right to kill an innocent unborn child,” Griffin said, adding that DeSantis’ office believes that the 15-week ban “will ultimately withstand all legal challenges.”
“The struggle for life is not over,” he said.
To date, Florida lawmakers have not introduced a six-week abortion bill that has been able to pass muster. In late 2021, before the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Republican Rep. Webster Barnaby (R-27) had introduced a bill modeled after Texas’ heartbeat law, but it failed to progress in the legislature.
LifeSiteNews previously reported that the legislation would have amended Florida statutes to replace the term “fetus” with “unborn child,” and utilize the same enforcement mechanism as the Texas law by enabling private citizens to bring lawsuits against abortionists. It would also have made clear that, while banning abortions only after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, it doesn’t “create or recognize a right to abortion before a fetal heartbeat is detected.”
Floria pro-lifers are also collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the Sunshine State’s Constitution to explicitly recognize “The right to life of the preborn individual is God-given, thus unalienable and recognized accordingly. Therefore, it shall not be infringed at any stage of development.”
Now unshackled by the top-down requirements imposed by Roe v. Wade, which had established a federal “right to abortion” superseding statewide pro-life efforts, a new six-week abortion ban could be enforced by the state rather than simply via private litigation.
In Texas, a 1925 pro-life trigger law took effect after Roe was overturned. Abortionists who violate the law in the Lone Star State can be found guilty of a felony and sentenced to life in prison.
Pro-life activists in Florida launch effort to ban abortion through state constitutional amendment