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The Florida Senate

President Office — Press Release


April 3, 2023

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

Florida Senate Passes Heartbeat Protection Act

Legislation protects innocent life, supports families

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill 300, the Heartbeat Protection Act, by Senator Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach).  The legislation protects innocent, unborn life by prohibiting abortions after six weeks gestation, with exceptions for women who are victims of rape, incest and human trafficking, or whose baby has a devastating diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality.

“For decades now, Florida has been a nationwide leader in defending the rights of the unborn. The Heartbeat Protection Act will make Florida a beacon of hope for those who understand that life is sacred and must be protected,” said Senator Grall. “This bill represents an unprecedented opportunity to protect innocent life, and to stand with the brave moms who choose life for their babies.  For 50 years, it was legal in this country to kill unborn children, and during that time, abortion has touched every single one of us. We have to grieve for what we have done as a country. This bill makes certain our laws reflect the strongest protections for innocent life.”

“The Heartbeat Protection Act builds on Florida’s strong track record of protecting the most vulnerable, especially the unborn, and strengthens state efforts to promote adoption, and support families, with significant resources to benefit infants, young children, and parents, which we hope will encourage more Floridians in difficult and unplanned situations to choose life for their babies,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). “Our bill also includes strong and clear exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking, in addition to those already available for the life of the mother. We also clarify the existing exception for the horrible situation when parents are facing the heartbreaking diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality.”

The Heartbeat Protection Act prohibits abortions after six weeks gestation. Gestation was defined in HB 5 (2022) as being calculated from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. The bill maintains current law exceptions to the six week prohibition for the life and health of the mother and clarifies that the exception for fatal fetal abnormalities is available until the third trimester, rather than until viability.

The bill creates a new exception for victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking, which is available up to 15 weeks gestation. To ensure violent perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes against women and girls, and to help prevent repeated sexual assault, abuse, and violence against rape, incest, and human trafficking survivors, the bill contains reporting requirements, so criminals can be brought to justice.

To ensure that abortions are safe, SB 300 requires that any abortion must be performed in-person by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician. This means medication abortion must be dispensed in person by a physician and cannot be delivered by mail or other courier service.

SB 300 promotes healthy families and supports parents who choose life for their babies by providing additional counseling or mentoring services as well as providing nonmedical material assistance to families such as car seats, cribs, clothing, formula, and diapers. In addition to the $30 million of new funding for pregnant women and families included in the bill, the Senate’s proposed state budget, SB 2500, which passed the Senate earlier today, provides significant funding for Florida’s families. SB 2500 includes $474.7 million to provide continued funding for extended post-partum care coverage for women enrolled in Medicaid and receiving CHIP Medicaid benefits, family planning, MomCare, Healthy Start, and increases funding for the expansion of the Telehealth Minority Maternity Care Pilot program to 10 counties with the highest number of women experiencing severe maternal morbidity.