Fox News hosted the first Republican debate on Wednesday night, moderated by Bret Baier and Martha McCallum. Baier asked Ron DeSantis his views on the abortion issue. Here is how the Florida governor responded (above):
Ron DeSantis: “ … we sold the biggest election landslide victory in the history of the Republican Party in the state of Florida in 2022. That’s what I did. We can win.
But second of all, you’ve got to do what you think is right. I believe in a culture of life. I was proud to sign the Heartbeat Bill. One of the most impactful moments of my life is when I heard the heartbeat of my daughter in my wife’s womb and saw the sonograms of all three of my kids. What the Democrats are trying to do on this issue is wrong to allow abortion all the way up to the moment of birth.
I know a lady in Florida named Penny. She survived multiple abortion attempts. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortunately, her grandmother saved her and took her to a different hospital. We’re better than what the Democrats are selling. We are not going to allow abortion all the way up to birth. We’ll hold them accountable for their extremism.”
Bret Baier: To be clear, Governor, would you sign a six week ban federally?
Ron DeSantis: “I’m going to stand on the side of life. Look … I understand Wisconsin is going to do it different than Texas; Iowa and New Hampshire are going to do it different. I will support the cause of life as governor AND as president.”
The media tries to pin down pro-life politicians
Even right of center media like Fox News tries to pin candidates down on specifically what limits on abortion they’d promote as president. Governor DeSantis properly avoided getting nailed down by specifics, and instead focused on Democrats’ extreme position.
Amazingly, Democrats tried to pounce on DeSantis for mischaracterizing their position on abortion. President Biden’s former press secretary, Jen Psaki, actually Tweeted:
“No one supports abortion up until birth.”
Former Democratic senator, Al Franken, echoed the false claim. Said Franken:
“No one is trying to allow abortion right up to birth.”
Actually, EVERY single member of his party in Congress, except for Joe Manchin, voted to allow abortion up to birth when they voted for the dishonestly named ‘Women’s Health Protection Act’, which allows abortion up to the moment of birth.
The law states:
“A health care provider has a statutory right to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services, without a limitation or requirement that… impedes access to abortion services.”
Note the the words ‘without limitation.’
The abortion party is out-of-touch with voters
Democrats know that their extreme position is out of touch with most Americans. They know that the Women’s Health Protection Act would eliminate every abortion restriction passed by pro-life legislators. As press secretary, Ms. Psaki acknowledged President Biden’s full support for the law.
For the record, the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform makes it clear that they oppose any limits on abortion:
“Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights.”
These ‘barriers’ include heartbeat laws and pain-capable laws, which elected Democrats consistently oppose with near unanimity.
So Ms. Psaki’s protestations last night are disingenuous. Good for Governor DeSantis for exposing Democrat’s extremism on this important issue.
Haley throws the question back at the press
And good for Nikki Haley who threw the question back at the media’s coddling treatment of pro-abortion candidates:
“I think we’re all pro-life but what I would love is for someone to ask Biden and Kamala Harris are they for 38 weeks? Are they for 39 weeks? Are they for 40 weeks? Because that’s what the media needs to be asking.”
A dust-up between Haley and Pence
Speaking of Haley, she got into a dust-up with former VP Mike Pence on the subject of abortion in the first Republican debate:
Nikki Haley: We need to stop demonizing this issue. This is talking about the fact that unelected justices didn’t need to decide something this personal, because it’s personal for every woman and man. Now it’s been put in the hands of the people. That’s great. When it comes to a federal ban, let’s be honest with the American people and say it will take 60 Senate votes; it will take a majority of the House. So in order to do that, let’s find consensus. Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortions shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available? And can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion? Let’s treat this like a respectful issue that it is, and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation.
Mike Pence: I’ve been a champion for life in the Congress, a champion for life as governor and as vice president. And to be honest with you, Nikki, you’re my friend, but consensus is the opposite of leadership. When the Supreme Court returned this question to the American people, they didn’t just send it to the states only. It’s not a states only issue, it’s a moral issue. And I promise you, as president of the United States, the American people will have a champion for life in the Oval Office. Can’t we have a minimum standard in every state in the nation that says when a baby is capable of feeling pain, an abortion cannot be allowed. A 15 week ban is an idea whose time has come. It’s supported by 70% of the American people.
Nikki Haley: Well, when you’re talking about a federal ban, be honest with the American people. We haven’t had 45 pro-life senators in over a hundred years …
Mike Pence: I am being honest …
Nikki Haley: … so no Republican president can ban abortions anymore than a Democrat president could ban all those state laws. Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when we don’t have 60 Senate votes in the house …
Mike Pence: 70% of the American people support legislation that ban abortion after a baby [is] capable of experiencing pain.
Let us parse this exchange:
- Haley: “We need to stop demonizing this issue. This is talking about the fact that unelected justices didn’t need to decide something this personal, because it’s personal for every woman and man. Now it’s been put in the hands of the people. That’s great.” True, in that Roe v Wade took the issue out of the hands of the people. But imagine if the issue was slavery. Would we say that it’s ‘great’ that the issue has been put back into the hands of the people? No, because slavery AND abortion deny people their Constitutional rights.
- Haley: “Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available?” Half of all women seeking abortions were contracepting at the time they conceived. Contraception fails. When it fails, too many couples put the blame on the baby and abort it.
- Haley: “And can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion?” No serious pro-life groups call for this. Pulse Life Advocates certainly doesn’t.
- Pence: “When the Supreme Court returned this question to the American people, they didn’t just send it to the states only. It’s not a states only issue, it’s a moral issue.” True. Pulse would add that it is the ultimate HUMAN RIGHTS issue of our age.
- Pence: “A 15 week ban is an idea whose time has come. It’s supported by 70% of the American people.” For that matter, it’s supported by almost all of Europe where 47 out of 50 European countries have abortions bans between 12 and 15 weeks.
Republicans should combine DeSantis’ and Haley’s responses
Both DeSantis and Haley made good points in last night’s first Republican debate. Haley’s practicality could easily be folded into DeSantis’ hard-hitting response like this:
“What the Democrats are trying to do on this issue is wrong to allow abortion all the way up to the moment of birth. Now that the Supreme Court has returned this issue back to the people, I encourage voters to elect pro-life Congressional representatives who will pass pro-life federal laws. As your president, I will sign the pro-life legislation you send to my desk.”