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While Texas Heartbeat Law Stands, Florida Officials Look to Pass a Similar Pro-Life Law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks the media at a coronavirus vaccination site at Lakewood Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Now that Texas has enacted the only heartbeat law in the country, other states may jump at the opportunity to pass similar pro-life laws.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he might support enacting such a law that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to take effect.

DeSantis told reporters that he wants to pass stronger laws against abortion, but he doesn't know enough about the Texas ban to definitively say he would support a similar bill in Florida.

"What they did in Texas was interesting and I haven't really been able to look enough into it," DeSantis said at a West Palm Beach news conference when asked about the Texas law. "I am going to look more significantly at it."

Late Wednesday, the high court by a 5 - 4 vote denied an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block the law's enforcement. The court said it was not ruling on the law's constitutionality or blocking further challenges. 

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Florida legislative leaders said they were already preparing pro-life bills for the next session which begins in January and that includes a fetal heartbeat bill.

"When the Supreme Court goes out and makes a decision like this, it clearly is going to send a signal to all the states that are interested in banning abortions or making it more restrictive to have an abortion in their state," Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told WFLA-TV. It's certainly going to make us take a look at those issues."

But Florida's Senate Democratic leader, Lauren Book, said her party would fight any such measures even though Democrats are the minority in both statehouses. 

Book, who has publicly discussed surviving sexual abuse as a child, said in a statement that any bill emulating the Texas ban "would send a clear message to me, and to other survivors of sexual assault, that we do not matter."

As CBN News reported in July, Mississippi's Republican attorney general argued in papers submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court that the high court should overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and allow states to decide whether to regulate abortion.

"Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes. Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion," Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and four of her attorneys wrote in the brief.

The arguments are a direct challenge to the central finding of the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and its 1992 decision in a Pennsylvania abortion case. Both rulings said states may not put an undue burden on abortion before an unborn baby is viable. The Mississippi attorneys argue that those rulings are "egregiously wrong."

As CBN News reported in May, the court with a 6 to 3 conservative majority said it will consider arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks. Justices are likely to hear the case this fall and could rule on it in the spring.

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