On April 13, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which bans abortion after six weeks of a pregnancy. That’s when a heartbeat can be detected, indicating the existence of a new human being with a unique DNA.
The law will go into effect if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the existing law barring abortions after 15 weeks, a statute lawmakers enacted in 2022. That law has been challenged by the pro-abortion industry.
Because more than 90% of abortions occur before 15 weeks, the heartbeat bill was needed to protect many more innocent lives. More than a dozen “heartbeat” laws have been enacted or under consideration across the country. Due to the brainchild of my friend Janet Porter of Faith2Action, the bills have been made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
The latest law signals a growing pro-life sentiment in the Sunshine State. The Florida House overwhelmingly approved it 70-40 Among other things, the law increases state funding for the Pregnancy Care Network, Inc. from $4 million to $25 million. The network helps support crisis pregnancy centers that provide care for pregnant women.
The new law also requires that drugs that induce abortion be dispensed, not mailed. This may well save many girls and women from suffering unforeseen complications from abortion pills.
Lawmakers allowed some abortion exceptions including for victims of rape and incest, up to 15 weeks. Also, as with other pro-life statutes, the law allows abortions if the mother’s life is in danger. The Heartbeat Act is the culmination of decades of pro-life activism, aided by scientific advances that decimate abortion backers’ claim that a growing baby in a womb is not a human being.
And what’s so special about human beings? For starters, we are the apple of our Creator’s eye:
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27).
Furthermore, science is uncovering the mysteries of the human body, revealing just how marvelous it is.
For example, a human body contains 10 to 100 million unimaginably complex cells, each comprising a trillion atoms. Our eyes alone should scotch the idea that we are some sort of cosmic accident, thrown together over millions of years haphazardly and therefore disposable.
Each retina has 120 million rods and seven million cones. In his book, More than Meets the Eye, Richard A. Swenson, M.D. explains that “each eye has one million nerve fibers that electrically connect the photoreceptors in the retina to the visual cortex of the brain.”
This divinely designed hardware allows us to distinguish literally millions of shades of color and to detect “a small candle flame from 30 miles away.” The rest of the body, mind and soul are just as “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 puts it.
Anyone who has held a newborn should instinctively appreciate the miracle of birth and the blossoming of a new life. But sometimes it takes a shock to the system to convince people that abortion is the opposite of “reproductive health care.”
I experienced that shock, along with my wife, Bonnie, at an Orlando theater around 1990, when we saw “Silent Scream.” The film depicts a fetus desperately trying to elude an abortionist’s tools of death. This got me off the sidelines, and I have worked in and supported the pro-life cause ever since, including chairing Florida’s Life Chain. On Oct. 6, 1991, some 9,000 Central Floridians stood in a Life Chain along a busy Orlando boulevard. The next year, it was 10,000. The next year 15,000.
Our growing faith and clarity about abortion were driving forces in the creation first of an investment fund for pastors and then the Timothy Plan in 1994, which launched Biblically Responsible Investing. We pledged then, and still do, that not a penny will be invested in companies that facilitate or support abortion, pornography, anti-family cultural trends, or other practices that violate our values.
We have bought out theaters for showings of pro-life films like “Unplanned” and “Gosnell,” and we support Liberty Counsel and other groups that fight for life and our other God-given constitutional rights.
Why do we do all this? Not to pat ourselves on the back. It’s a matter of obedience to our Lord and Savior.
Thirty-five hundred years ago, God through Moses conveyed what was at stake:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways … I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live ...” (Deuteronomy 30: 15-19).
Florida’s leaders have chosen life. May God bless them and bless their work.
Art Ally is the founder of the Timothy Plan family of Biblically Responsible Investing funds.