DeSantis Affirms Support for 15-Week Abortion Ban
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In the second Republican presidential primary debate, one topic that was conspicuously absent from the spotlight was abortion politics and policy. Unlike the first debate in August, where abortion discussions dominated a substantial portion, this time, it only received a brief mention towards the end of the event, sandwiched between debates on the federal government's size and the GOP's challenges with Latino voters.
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During this short window, only two participants, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, had the opportunity to weigh in on the topic of abortion. DeSantis, known for his pro-life stance, ardently defended these beliefs and expressed his support for a national 15-week ban on abortion.
Responding to a query from moderator Dana Perino regarding how he intended to win over independent pro-choice voters, DeSantis pointed to his landslide re-election in Florida in 2022, following his signing of a 15-week abortion ban in the state. DeSantis attributed his resounding victory to leading with purpose and conviction.
DeSantis also addressed earlier remarks by former President Donald Trump, who had suggested that Republican inflexibility on abortion contributed to the party's underperformance in the 2022 midterms. DeSantis disagreed with this assertion, stating that there were other factors at play.
The Florida Governor emphasized the importance of pro-life principles and holding the Democrats accountable for their stance on abortion. He asserted that supporting abortion until the moment of birth amounts to infanticide, a stance he strongly opposes.
DeSantis further confirmed his commitment to a 15-week nationwide ban on abortion if he were to become president. When questioned by fellow primary contender Senator Tim Scott on whether he would endorse this federal policy, DeSantis unequivocally answered in the affirmative.
DeSantis's campaign later confirmed his support for a 15-week ban. It's worth noting that earlier this year, he signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida, which is even more stringent than the one he approved the previous year.
Notably, only a handful of GOP presidential hopefuls have openly endorsed a federal 15-week ban. Previously, DeSantis had remained noncommittal on the issue, while Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and former Vice President Mike Pence had expressed their support for such a ban.
Former President Donald Trump, who is gearing up for his 2024 campaign, has evaded taking a clear stance on a federal abortion ban. He suggested that, from a legal standpoint, leaving abortion regulation to the states might be preferable. However, he indicated a willingness to work with whichever approach is adopted.
The debate over abortion policy remains ongoing, with the expectation that some form of resolution will emerge in the coming weeks. DeSantis's six-week ban in Florida has garnered mixed opinions, with Trump referring to it as a "terrible thing and a terrible mistake."
While DeSantis's campaign did not provide immediate responses to inquiries on Thursday morning, Chris Christie was the only other participant who discussed abortion at length during the debate.
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The former New Jersey Governor highlighted his record of vetoing Planned Parenthood funding during his tenure, emphasizing his belief in states' rights to make these decisions. Christie argued that Republicans had long fought against the Roe v. Wade decision, advocating for states to have the authority to decide on abortion policies.
Christie underlined the need for a broader approach to pro-life principles, stating that a pro-life stance should extend beyond the nine months in the womb. He emphasized the importance of widespread drug addiction treatment in the United States, framing it as an integral part of the pro-life agenda.
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