Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during Wednesday night’s GOP debate said he would support a national 15-week abortion ban if elected president.
DeSantis is the fourth GOP presidential candidate to make the commitment, after former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He made the commitment after being prompted by Scott whether he would support the policy.
The decision was first confirmed by The Daily Signal.
All of the candidates in the Republican race have described themselves as “pro-life” and advocated for abortion bans on the state level, though they are divided on federal policy.
DeSantis had refused to say whether he would back a national ban after he signed a six-week abortion ban into Florida state law earlier this year. Former President Trump, the current front-runner in the GOP race, has also avoided the topic, while it has been a major issue for Pence and Scott.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley have either said they don’t support federal restrictions or believe it’s not politically feasible at the moment.
Pence is the only candidate in the race who has gone a step further, vowing to support a six-week national abortion ban if elected.
Scott launched an ad this week attacking his opponents for not taking stronger stances on the issue, including the line “some Republicans want to retreat on life” — a subtle dig at DeSantis and Trump.
Abortion was a key issue in the 2022 midterms, and political analysts — as well as Trump — have blamed Republicans’ anti-abortion rights position for disappointing results in that election. DeSantis challenged Trump’s belief.
“I reject this idea that pro-lifers are to blame for midterm defeats,” DeSantis argued during the second GOP debate. “I think there’s other reasons for that.”
“The former president, he’s missing in action tonight,” the Florida governor said. “He’s had a lot to say about that. He should be here explaining his comments to try to say that pro-life protections are somehow a terrible thing.”
Abortion rights are on the ballot in Ohio in 2023 and are expected to be on the ballot in Arizona and Maryland in 2024. Measures in 2022 in six states all resulted in victories for abortion rights activists.
The Hill has reached out to the DeSantis campaign for comment.
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