Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today responded to criticism from former President Donald Trump. Yesterday, trump criticized DeSantis, saying that the bill the governor signed to protect babies who have beating hearts from abortion is “too harsh.”
DeSantis said he was “proud” to have signed legislation to save babies from abortions.
DeSantis made Florida the next state to officially protect the lives of unborn children after Roe was overturned last summer. Pro-Life Americans from across the country celebrated the new law, which protects babies whose heartbeats can easily be detected and whose lives have existed for a month and a half starting at conception.
But as LifeNews reported yesterday, Trump says that the 6-week abortion ban that DeSantis signed that protects unborn babies with beating hearts from being killed in abortions is potentially “too harsh.”
“He has to do what he has to do,” Trump said when asked about Florida’s six-week ban. “If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don’t even know if he knew what he was doing. But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh.”
When asked about whether he would support a six-week ban, Trump replied, “I’m looking at all options.”
“For 50 years, they’ve been trying to get rid of Roe v Wade. I was able to do it. Nobody else could have done that but me. And I was able to do it [by nominating] three excellent judges on the Justices of the Supreme Court. And I was able to do that,” he said.
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“I’m looking at all alternatives. I’m looking at many alternatives,” Trump added when asked if six weeks was too harsh. “But I was able to get us to the table by terminating Roe v. Wade. That’s the most important thing that’s ever happened for the pro-life movement.”
Today, a reporter asked DeSantis about Trump’s remarks and the Florida governor said Trump was incorrect about pro-life people thinking protecting babies from abortions is “too harsh.”
“Protecting an unborn child when there’s the detectable heartbeat is something that almost, probably, 99% of pro lifers support,” DeSantis said. “I signed the bill. I was proud to do it. He won’t answer whether he would sign it or not.”
“It’s something that other states like Iowa under Governor Kim Reynolds have enacted,” he added.
That response mirrors what DeSantis said when he signed the bill.
“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at the time he signed the law. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
The law would save tens of thousands of lives annually and provide $25 million in aid to women and families.
Ironically, Trump’s new comments come after a meeting with pro-life leaders following a previous statement that amide him appear less than fully pro-life
Trump met with pro-life leaders last week and pledged to govern pro-life if elected again to another term as president.
The meeting after a disagreement he had with one of the leading pro-life groups in the country about the role of federal legislation in a post-Dobbs world. But he met with the head of two major pro-life organization, both of whom said Trump reassured them that he would strongly support pro-life legislation to protect babies from abortions.
SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser and Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, both met with Trump yesterday at his Florida home. In comments to LifeNews, Dannenfelser described it as a “terrific meeting.”
“During the meeting, President Trump reiterated his opposition to the extreme Democratic position of abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers – and even in some cases after the child is born. President Trump believes such a position is unworthy of a great nation and believes the American people will rebel against such a radical position that aligns us with China and North Korea,” Dannenfelser explained.
She said Trump understood the importance of Congressional bills to ban late-term abortions and protect babies who survive abortions — bills Democrats have repeatedly blocked.
“President Trump knows the vast majority of Americans oppose brutal late-term abortions when the child can feel pain and suck their thumbs,” she said. “President Trump reiterated that any federal legislation protecting these children would need to include the exceptions for life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. Protecting unborn children capable of feeling pain would align America with the civilized world and with 47 out of 50 European nations.”
Dannenfelser praised Trump for his extensive pro-life record as president.
“His presidency was the most consequential in American history for the pro-life cause,” she told LifeNews.
The meeting came after a brief but contentious period of time following a statement by a Trump campaign spokesman about the issue of whether babies are killed in abortions should only be decided at the state level — a position SBA says is “unacceptable.”
In a new interview with the Washington Post, the Trump campaign would not comment on the new 6-week abortion ban that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law last week to protect babies and help women.
But a campaign representative did speak about Trump’s views of where the abortion debate stands now.
Former president Donald Trump has barely spoken about the issue, telling advisers that he believes it is a difficult one for Republicans and not something he should focus his time on. His campaign did not directly answer whether Trump agreed with the six-week ban in Florida or what policies he would support nationally but instead said Trump believes the issue should be left up to individual states. “States’ rights,” Trump has said privately when advisers have floated the issue, adding his assessment that they should not talk about it.
“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “Republicans have been trying to get this done for 50 years, but were unable to do so. President Trump, who is considered the most pro-life President in history, got it done. He will continue these policies when reelected to the White House. Like President Reagan before him, President Trump supports exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
Asked again directly whether Trump agreed or disagreed with the law DeSantis signed, the campaign did not respond.
While pro-life advocates understand that babies need legal protection whether it comes from the state or federal level, there appears to be a new divide between pro-life candidates who think only states should be involved in protecting babies in abortions and those who think there is a place for Congress to pass laws protecting unborn children. Without Congressional protections, babies in pro-abortion states will never have their lives protected — as Democrats legalize abortions up to birth and make killing babies a state right.
In the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, Justice Samuel Alito made it clear that both Congress and state legislatures can pass laws protecting babies from abortions.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote. “On the question of abortion, The Constitution is therefore neither pro-life nor pro-choice. The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for their people and the elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the States or Congress – like the numerous other difficult questions of American social and economic policy that the Constitution does not address.”
The SBA Pro-Life group is in the latter category, and told LifeNews today that Trump’s views are “unacceptable.”
While the Trump campaign stated they would leave the abortion issue exclusively to the states to decide, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, responded unequivocally that this position is at odds with the pro-life views that babies deserve legal protection regardless of the state.
“President Trump’s assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold,” she said.
Dannenfelser continued, “Life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights. Saying that the issue should only be decided at the states is an endorsement of abortion up until the moment of birth, even brutal late-term abortions in states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. The only way to save these children is through federal protections, such as a 15-week federal minimum standard when the unborn child can feel excruciating pain.”
She told LifeNews that Trump’s view could disqualify him from support during the Republican presidential primary.
“We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections,” she said.
Ultimately, the pro-life leader said the view that only states can ban abortions is a misread of the Dobbs decision, which clearly states that legislative bodies in America — both Congressional and state legislative — have purview over abortion rather than the courts.
“The Supreme Court made clear in its decision that it was returning the issue to the people to decide through their elected representatives in the states and in Congress. Holding to the position that it is exclusively up to the states is an abdication of responsibility by anyone elected to federal office. This holds especially true for the president, more than any other federal official, because he or she has a responsibility to forge national consensus and progress on the most egregious human rights violation of our time,” she concluded.
After the dustup, Trump renewed his pro-life commitments in a video to a Christian group in Iowa.
“I will stand proudly in defense of innocent life just as I did for 4 very powerful strong years because every child, born and unborn, is a sacred gift from God,” Trump said in a video address to a pro-family group in Iowa.
“From my first days in office I took historic action to protect the unborn,” Trump explained. “I reinstated the Mexico City Policy, stopped taxpayer funding for abortion providers and, at the United Nations, I made clear that global bureaucrats have no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that protect life.”
“I was the first president to attend as you all know, the March for Life rally in Washington,” he added, and explained how he stood for religious and conscience rights for pro-life Americans.
Trump also noted his record in appointing judges to the federal bench, including those who ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade.
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