DeSantis slams Trump for dodging question on 6-week abortion ban, doubles down on his support for the issue: 'I was proud to do it'

This combination of photos shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking on April 21, 2023, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, left, and former President Donald Trump speaking on March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. DeSantis and Trump will share the spotlight in Iowa on Saturday, May 13, providing a chance to sway influential conservative activists and contrast their campaign styles in Republicans' leadoff voting state.
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  • Trump hasn't said what federal limit he supports on abortion.

  • He criticized DeSantis' six-week ban in Florida as 'too harsh.'

  • DeSantis said Trump needed to answer whether he would have signed a similar bill into law.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida put pressure on former President Donald Trump Tuesday to answer whether he'd sign a six-week abortion ban into law.

"As a Florida resident, he didn't give an answer about 'Would you have signed the heartbeat bill that Florida did?'" DeSantis said, referring to the six-week point in a pregnancy at which an embryo's cardiac activity can be detected.

The governor, who was taking questions from reporters in Lighthouse Point, Florida, also noted that Florida's ban contained exceptions for rape, incest, and cases in which a pregnacy is life threatening — exceptions Trump has described to anti-abortion groups as crucial.

"I signed the bill, I was proud to do it," DeSantis said of the six-week ban. "He won't answer whether he would sign it or not."

Trump hasn't specified what he thinks a federal abortion cut-off should look like, telling CNN and The Messenger that he'd instead — like 2024 rival Nikki Haley — work to see where the consensus was.

Trump told The Messenger that some anti-abortion advocates viewed the six-week ban as "too harsh," though national organizations have pushed aggressively for such bans in states, even without rape and incest exeptions.

Most voters support limits on abortion late in a pregnancy but think it should be broadly available during the first trimester, or roughly 12 weeks into a pregnancy, polling shows. Voters also overwhelmingly support allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when a pregnancy is life threatening.

Late-pregnancy abortions and abortions that occur following rape and incest tend to dominate political messaging on the issue, though each of these circumstances represent roughly 1% or less of abortions in the US every year.

DeSantis signed a six-week ban into law in April that will take effect if Florida's Supreme Court first upholds a 15-week ban he signed into law last year, one that doesn't have exeptions for rape or incest and is in effect now.

Major donors were concerned that the legislation went too far, telling journalists that they were holding off on contributing to the governor, who still hasn't formalized a 2024 run. Whether a strict ban is a general election or even presidential primary killer remains an open question, though the issue proved to hurt congressional Republicans during the 2022 midterms.

DeSantis, in contrast, won his gubernatorial reelection by nearly 20 points after authorizing a 15-week ban and vaguely pledging to "expand pro-life protections."

During his remarks Tuesday, DeSantis pointed out that Iowa also enacted a six-week ban, in a thinly veiled reference to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. DeSantis hasn't announced that he's running, though numerous signs — from relocating his political operation to racking up endorsements — indicate that an announcement is imminent.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to an Insider email requestion a response to DeSantis' latest abortion comments.

Anti-abortion organizations have criticized Trump for failing to take a stance on the issue, though they called him the "most pro-life president in history" when he was in the White House. Trump also made state-level abortion bans possible by appointing enough justices to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which previously guaranteed a national right to abortion.

Read the original article on Business Insider