Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ refusal Wednesday to say how he felt about a newly filed abortion bill based on a widely debated Texas law has national Democrats mocking him for equivocating.
“Governor Ron DeSantis pleads ignorance and refuses to say whether he would sign this latest attack because he knows his radical views are wildly out of touch with his constituents,” Democratic National Committee spokesperson Adonna Biel said in a written statement. “Floridians deserve to know where DeSantis stands on this heinous and dangerous legislation. Though he might try to hide it, Democrats will continue to hold him, and all Republican officials, accountable for their all out-war on reproductive health care.”
Biel was responding to the Governor’s rambling, non-committal answer when he was asked Wednesday about House Bill 167, filed earlier that day by Debary Republican Rep. Webster Barnaby. HB 167, inspired by the recent Texas law that has been the center of national abortion debate for a month, would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected — which could ban abortions after about six weeks gestation, before a mother might even know she is pregnant — and put the onus on private individuals, not law enforcement, to enforce the law.
At a Kissimmee news conference Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis sounded unprepared to comment on Barnaby’s bill. In response to one question, he stumbled through an effort to explain why the government should be regulating abortions, and then to another he declined to comment on the bill itself, saying he needed to read it first, while assuring journalists that, whatever the bill says, he is anti-abortion.
Numerous Democrats pounced quickly, including Democratic gubernatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
“This bill is dangerous, radical, and unconstitutional,” Fried said in a statement.
The DNC made its entry into the Florida debate on Thursday.
“Despite overwhelming public support for access to safe and legal abortions, Republicans have continued their 50-year, unrelenting war on women’s health and the freedom to make decisions about their own health care,” Biel said. “Florida Republicans’ efforts are just the latest example of gross political attempts by extremists to get involved in a decision made by a person and their health care provider.”