Former US President Donald Trump sparked backlash from anti-abortion activists for refusing to commit to nationwide abortion restrictions and calling Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of the ban a “terrible mistake” – a ban on abortion a pregnancy after six weeks of pregnancy. gestation.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump repeatedly refused to say whether he would support a federal abortion ban. He said he could “live with” the procedure being banned by individual states or at the national level through federal action, although he stated that “from a legal standpoint, (he) thinks it’s probably best handled at the state level.” “. level.
Regarding the bill signed by DeSantis, which bans abortion before many women even know they are pregnant, Trump said: “I think what he did was a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
The former president has so far been the center of attention in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, although he has sometimes dismissed anti-abortion groups that traditionally have outsized influence in Republican primaries.
But Trump’s direct attack on DeSantis, whom he has long treated as his main rival, could breathe new life into the Florida governor as he tries to regain momentum in his campaign and cement his second-place finish as the Republican candidate in the upcoming election. .
Speaking to an Iowa radio station on Monday, DeSantis said he was proud to have signed the Florida legislation, which he called “noble and fair.”
“I don’t know how you can even claim to be somehow pro-life if you’re criticizing states for enacting protections for babies,” DeSantis said.
He also criticized Donald Trump’s statement that he would work with both sides on abortion policy, warning: “I think all pro-lifers should know that he is preparing to betray them.”
Following Trump’s interview on Sunday, the country’s largest anti-abortion organization, which supports a national ban on abortions at 15 weeks gestation, quickly issued a statement saying that any less restrictive measures “make no sense.”
“We are at a time when we need a human rights defender, someone dedicated to saving the lives of children and serving mothers in need. Each candidate should be clear about how he plans to achieve this,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
The Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade left it up to states to decide whether and how to restrict abortion, creating a smorgasbord of laws across the country, with most Republican-led states imposing new restrictions and Democratic-led states adopting protections.
Twenty-five million women of childbearing age now live in states where abortion is more difficult to obtain than before the ruling.
Trump addressed abortion from a political perspective, saying the Supreme Court’s decision gave conservatives room to negotiate new restrictions. He argued that the Republican push to impose restrictions on abortion hurts the GOP in the 2022 midterm elections and that GOP candidates need to better explain the problem.
The ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, as enacted by Florida earlier this year, is unpopular with the American public, according to June figures from the Associated Press Public Affairs Research Center (NORC).
The survey found that 73 percent of all American adults believe abortion should be allowed up to six weeks into pregnancy, which is when fetal cardiac activity can be detected and before most women know they are pregnant. . About half of Americans believe abortions should be allowed up to 15 weeks.
In that poll, 56% of Republicans said abortion should be allowed in their state up to 6 weeks and 29% supported making the procedure legal up to 15 weeks.