Presidential Hopeful TUSSLES With Pro-Life Group

( – In the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) first presidential debate, Florida Gov. and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis avoided directly answering whether he would support a federal-level abortion ban. Previously, DeSantis signed a six-week ban for Florida upon the detection of a heartbeat, with exceptions for victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking up to 15 weeks. The pro-life constituency, an important single issue for a Republican presidential candidate, will be essential for whoever faces President Biden in a general election matchup.

The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA), a conservative pro-life group, has previously slammed DeSantis for his position on abortion and sidestepping if he would support a federal abortion ban. Despite this, DeSantis has attempted to highlight himself as a pro-life governor and a pro-life presidential candidate. When asked during the debate, DeSantis said that he believes in a culture of life and was proud to sign a heartbeat bill, and then slammed Democrats for supporting abortion up to the moment of birth. 

Moderator and FOX News host Bret Baier pressed DeSantis on the question again, specifically whether he would sign a six-week ban federally. DeSantis only responded by saying he was on the side of life and that abortion policies would vary in the states. This waffling has left critics further displeased with his continued lack of response on whether he would support a ban. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also refused to provide support, stating that the Senate would not likely get the 60 votes needed to pass a restriction due to the number of pro-choice Senators.

In contrast, the other Republican candidates at the debate elaborated their positions on the issue. Former Vice President Mike Pence attacked Haley and pledged to sign a national law restricting abortion due to the importance of it as a moral issue. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott also pledged support for a ban, saying that Illinois and Minnesota hold extreme laws and saying there should be a regulation after 15 weeks of pregnancy at least. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also signaled support. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said that while he signed a 6-week ban, he would be against federal legislation, believing it is an issue for the states to legislate on and emphasizing his support for the 10th amendment of the constitution. However, SBA has stated that they find Burgum’s answer unacceptable. Meanwhile, Democrats hope that their pro-choice rhetoric in the light of the overturn of Roe v. Wade could help them in elections, including the 2024 general election.

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