Florida Issues Emergency Rules on Abortion Exceptions

May 3, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) issued a pair of emergency rules this week regarding emergency medical treatments, including treatments of ectopic pregnancies, which the rules state are not abortions under the state’s new six-week Heartbeat Law. The AHCA published the rules one day after the Heartbeat Protection Act took effect to combat what it stated to be “disinformation” from a “deeply dishonest scare campaign” by the media, the Biden administration, and abortion advocacy groups about the new law.

The Biden administration has vocally opposed and condemned the Heartbeat Protection Act in the last few weeks as “extreme” and dangerous for the health and safety of women. However, the AHCA stated this type of opposition misinforms the public and puts women in danger even though the law actually protects women in life-threatening emergencies while also protecting the life of the unborn. 

The rules read, “The agency finds there is an immediate danger to the health, safety, and welfare of pregnant women and babies due to a deeply dishonest scare campaign and disinformation being perpetuated by the media, the Biden administration, and advocacy groups to misrepresent the Heartbeat Protection Act and the state’s efforts to protect life, moms, and families.”

“The agency is initiating rulemaking to safeguard against any immediate harm that could come to pregnant women due to disinformation,” stated the AHCA. 

The rules stipulate that “when a physician attempts to induce the live birth of an unborn baby, regardless of gestational age” during “preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), ectopic pregnancies, trophoblastic tumors, and other life-threatening conditions,” and “the unborn baby does not survive,” then the situation “does not constitute an abortion.” 

“This rulemaking will ensure health care providers establish medical records procedures that will adequately protect the care and safety of both mothers and their unborn babies during medical emergencies,” the AHCA rules stated. 

The rules apply to hospitals and clinics and do not require these treatments to be included in the state-mandated reporting requirements for abortions. 

The AHCA also published a “Myth vs. Fact” information sheet that dispels seven different “myths” about the Heartbeat Law and states that “Florida does not restrict lifesaving care for women.” 

The implementation of the Heartbeat Law, titled SB300 – Pregnancy and Parenting Support, follows the Florida Supreme Court which recently ruled 6-1 that there is no right to abortion in the Florida Constitution. The Heartbeat Law also provides $30 million in reoccurring state funding to support pregnant women and their families. 

For more information on Florida’s Heartbeat Law, visit Liberty Counsel’s website here

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The Heartbeat Protection Act protects the health and lives of both the unborn child and the mother and provides a wide range of options and support for women. The disinformation campaigns that say pregnant women can’t receive emergency health care in Florida are patently false. This disinformation puts women in jeopardy while the Heartbeat Protection Act protects them. Florida is a sanctuary for life.”           

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