Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said in an NBC News interview that aired Monday that he would not support punishments for women who violate abortion bans.
“Not at all,” the Florida governor said. “No, I don’t think this is an issue about the woman.”
“I think a lot of these women, you know, are in very difficult circumstances. They don’t get any support from a lot of the fathers,” DeSantis stated.
He said he believes many women choose to get abortions because they do not have a support system in place.
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Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests at Ashley’s BBQ Bash hosted by Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) on Aug. 6, 2023, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
“And a lot of them, the number one reason why women choose to have an abortion is because they’re not getting support, and they feel abandoned,” DeSantis, who is pro-life, asserted. “Now, in Florida, we’ve provided support, and we’ve put our money where our mouth is, but at the end of the day, you know, I would not support any penalties on a woman.”
“So would you veto any sort of federal bill that tries to put a nationwide ban in place?” Dasha Burns asked.
“So, we will be a pro-life president, and we will support pro-life policies,” DeSantis replied.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to guests at the Republican Party of Iowa 2023 Lincoln Dinner on July 28, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DeSantis and Burns traded shots regarding Democrats’ stances on the issue, and the governor explained that contraception should be widely available.
At the end of last month, DeSantis was criticized by a leading anti-abortion organization for not supporting a national ban, calling his position “unacceptable.”
“A pro-life president has a duty to protect the lives of all Americans. He should be the National Defender of Life,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said.
“Gov. DeSantis’s dismissal of this task is unacceptable to pro-life voters. A consensus is already formed. Intensity for it is palpable and measurable. There are many pressing legislative issues for which Congress does not have the votes at the moment, but that is not a reason for a strong leader to back away from the fight. This is where presidential leadership matters most,” she added.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to members of the media after an event on Thursday, July 27, 2023, in Chariton, Iowa. (Sergio Flores for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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DeSantis’ press secretary called the remarks an “unjustified attack” and an example of “D.C. political games”
“Governor DeSantis delivers results and acts, especially when it comes to protecting life. He did so in Florida by signing the heartbeat bill and will be a pro-life president,” press secretary Bryan Griffin told The Associated Press. “He does not kowtow to D.C. interest groups.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.