'He won't answer': DeSantis knocks Trump's refusal to say if he backs six-week abortion ban

Zac Anderson
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Abortion restrictions have become an early point of contention between Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, with the governor pushing back Tuesday on comments Trump made in a recent interview about Florida's new ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

"He signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh," Trump told the Messenger website, while declining to say whether he personally supports or opposes the legislation.

Asked about Trump's comments Tuesday during a bill signing ceremony for legislation cracking down on human trafficking, DeSantis said: "Protecting an unborn child when there's the detectable heartbeat is something that almost probably 99% of pro-lifers support."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 21, and former President Donald Trump on March 4.

DeSantis also dinged Trump for not taking a position on the six-week abortion ban.

"As a Florida resident, he didn't give an answer about 'Would you have signed the heartbeat bill that Florida did?'" DeSantis said, adding: "I signed the bill, I was proud to do it; he won't answer whether he would sign it or not."

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DeSantis signed the new law in April, making Florida one of the most restrictive states in the country on abortion. The law has an exception to save the life of the mother, and abortion is allowed at up to 15 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest.

DeSantis is expected to soon announce a presidential campaign and abortion could become a major issue in a primary race with Trump.

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Religious conservatives are an important voting block in Iowa, a key early-voting state that DeSantis visited over the weekend. The governor noted that Florida law now mirrors Iowa on abortion.

"It's something that other states like Iowa under Gov. Kim Reynolds have enacted," DeSantis said of the six-week ban.

Trump's recent abortion comments attracted attention from social conservatives.

Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent evangelical leader in Iowa who serves as president and CEO of The Family Leader, responded to Trump's comments by tweeting "The #IowaCaucus door just flung wide open."

"No, Mr. former President, many in the #ProLife community do not believe saving babies is too harsh," Vander Plaats tweeted.