Florida Governor Ron DeSantis didn’t hold back in his recent criticism of former President Donald Trump‘s vague stance on abortion. DeSantis, known for his strong pro-life position, signed a controversial bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. However, Trump, in an interview with The Messenger, questioned DeSantis’ knowledge and labeled the six-week ban as overly harsh.
During a press conference in Broward County, DeSantis fired back at Trump, emphasizing that protecting an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat enjoys support from a vast majority of pro-lifers. He highlighted other states, like Iowa under Governor Kim Reynolds, that have enacted similar legislation. DeSantis urged Trump to clarify his position, specifically questioning whether he would have signed the heartbeat bill that Florida put into law.
These exchanges between DeSantis and Trump come just ahead of DeSantis’ upcoming keynote address at the annual dinner of the Florida Family Policy Council, a leading pro-life and pro-family organization in the state. Florida’s current abortion law bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a measure that was implemented shortly before Roe v. Wade was overturned. However, legislators recently rolled back the ban to six weeks, albeit with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and human trafficking.
DeSantis signed the new abortion ban into law in April, though he initially didn’t publicize it widely, even during his speech at the conservative Christian Liberty University. Nevertheless, he has since mentioned the ban briefly during appearances where he highlights his legislative accomplishments. The new law has faced criticism from Democrats who argue that it practically amounts to a complete ban, given that many individuals may not even be aware of their pregnancy at the six-week mark. Some Republicans have also expressed concerns, fearing potential backlash in next year’s elections. Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates have launched an initiative to allow abortions up to approximately 24 weeks in Florida.
Trump’s ambiguous responses on abortion have stirred controversy among conservative Christians. Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Iowa-based Family Leader organization, tweeted that the Iowa caucuses were now “wide open” following Trump’s remarks on the perceived harshness of the six-week ban. Vander Plaats recently met with DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis, during his visit to Florida. John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council and a prominent anti-abortion advocate, also expressed disagreement with Trump’s statements, highlighting that major leaders in the pro-life movement would not support such views.
As DeSantis gears up for a potential presidential run, his clash with Trump on abortion could become a significant point of contention, shaping the public’s perception of his candidacy.