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DeSantis signs bill to set up website with pregnancy and parenting resources


Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a contentious measure that directs the Florida Department of Health to set up a website that provides “information and links to certain pregnancy and parenting resources,” the governor’s office announced Sunday.

The law (HB 415) requires the Department of Health to hire a contractor and work with the Department of Children & Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration on the website, which will provide “information and links to public and private resources for expectant families and new parents.”

The bill includes $466,200 in funding.

A legislative staff analysis said the website, at a minimum, must include information on resources related to educational materials on pregnancy and parenting, maternal health services, prenatal and postnatal services, educational and mentorship programs for fathers, social services, financial assistance and adoption services.

The website is required to operate by Jan. 1. But the bill became part of larger debates about abortion.

The group Floridians for Reproductive Freedom, for example, argued the bill will require the Department of Health to create a website that includes anti-abortion pregnancy centers. The group Progress Florida called the measure “anti-abortion propaganda on the public dime.”

But House bill sponsor Berny Jacques, R-Seminole, said in a social media post Sunday that it was “sad” people came after him during the legislative session “for simply trying to create a state website that provides parenting resources for pregnant women and expectant fathers.”

When the bill was filed, Senate sponsor Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, issued a statement that said “our hope is we will empower individuals with the knowledge and support necessary to navigate the challenges and joys of pregnancy and parenting.”

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Legislature along party lines, with votes of 83-33 in the House and 27-12 in the Senate.

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