Donald Trump didn’t want Florida’s 6-week abortion ban. But now it’s his problem in November
Image via AP.

Donald Trump court
Could Gov. DeSantis' 'terrible mistake' create a problem for the former President in his adopted home state?

Florida’s abortion law is now Donald Trump’s problem. And it’s not one he asked for.

The Florida Supreme Court validated a previously passed 15-week abortion ban, setting the stage for the six-week ban in 2023’s Heartbeat Protection Act to take effect next month.

Another decision, meanwhile, will give voters recourse to upend the law with Amendment 4 in November.

In the wake of the court rulings, reporters have wondered what Trump thinks about one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and his campaign has done little to offer clarity.

“President Trump supports preserving life but has also made clear that he supports states’ rights because he supports the voters’ right to make decisions for themselves,” reported the Bulwark’s Marc Caputo.

Caputo cited an adviser saying there was “no point in weighing in now,” a statement which creates further mystery regarding his position on Amendment 4.

Yet clarity into Trump’s position regarding the Florida six-week ban exists, if one assumes the controversies of the early part of the presidential race offer insight into his position.

“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump said in September 2023, regarding Gov. Ron DeSantis pushing for the law.

The irony: DeSantis doesn’t have to face voters this year. Trump does.

And as is clear, the Joe Biden campaign believes the abortion issue and the energy around it makes Florida “winnable” in a way it wouldn’t have been had the DeSantis-installed Supreme Court not approved the measure to advance to the ballot.

And while Trump has already distanced himself from Florida’s six-week ban, DeSantis issued a number of denunciations of the former President while he was an active candidate for President.

“I think that if you have something where you have a baby that has a detectable heartbeat, if you’re pro-life, you would want to say that there should be protections there,” he said on ABC News last fall. “And if he’s saying, ‘That’s a terrible thing,’ I know most pro-life voters would think that he’s wrong.”

“Donald Trump may think it’s terrible. I think protecting babies with heartbeats is noble and just and I’m proud to have signed the heartbeat bill in Florida and I know Iowa has similar legislation,” DeSantis said on Radio Iowa around the same time. “I don’t know how you can even make the claim that you’re somehow pro-life if you’re criticizing states for enacting protections for babies that have heartbeats.”

DeSantis described Trump’s position as a “danger that we all have to look at” with respect to the anti-abortion cause, adding that “all pro-lifers should know that he’s preparing to sell you out.”

“I was really surprised because he’s a Florida resident and I thought he would compliment the fact, you know, that we were able to do the heartbeat bill, which pro-lifers have wanted for a long time. He never complimented, never said anything about it,” DeSantis recounted on the 700 Club

“Then he was asked about it and he said it was ‘harsh.’ But, you know, these are, these are children with detectable heartbeats. And I think to do that was very humane and I think it was something that every pro-lifer appreciates that we were able to get that done.”

So to sum up: Trump never asked for Florida’s current controversy over abortion. But it’s served up to him, thanks in large part to the man who he made Governor, and who paid him back by trying to derail his re-election bid. 

Though DeSantis won zero counties in his $168 million presidential campaign, his actions and the reaction by the Left, given a platform by a Supreme Court he has shaped, create a political problem the former President likely didn’t count on in his adopted home state.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


22 comments

  • Earl Pitts "THE NEW MAYOR OF REALVILLE" American

    April 2, 2024 at 9:38 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    STAND BY FOR NEWS:
    “Wrong”, said Earl, this election will Not hinge on abortion.
    WELL THEN SAGE EARL TELL US WHAT THIS ELECTION WILL HINGE ON???
    “Thank you for asking”, said the Sage Earl.
    EARL “WEIGHS IN”:
    “Its The Economy Stupid”, said Earl.
    AND THATS THE REST OF THE STORY:
    Earl Pitts American

    Reply

    • Rick Whitaker

      April 4, 2024 at 6:50 pm

      CAUTION LOONY TROLL COMMENT BY EARL SHITTS

      Reply

  • Dale A Arnold

    April 2, 2024 at 9:39 am

    Vote yes on Amendment 4 and Amendment 3!!!! Tell Florida Republican controlled Government to mind their business and get out of people’s lives! Whatever happened to their “small government” B.S..? PS VOTE DEMOCRAT FOR EVERYTHING! Send a very clear message…

    Reply

    • Bill

      April 2, 2024 at 10:50 am

      Sounds like a plan to me. It will be nice to get these fools out of people lives.

      Reply

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 3, 2024 at 11:11 am

        Don’t count on Dee and his Deemons taking this lying down. First of all, there is the 60 percent hurdle they imposed on the gullible MAGA voters. Then, there is the example of how Dee and Co. have trickled out the rights of former felons to vote that Floridians voted said they wanted.

        Reply

  • PeterH

    April 2, 2024 at 9:57 am

    The Republican Party must be destroyed so it can be rebuilt from the ground up! Trump should never again see the inside of the Oval Office…. he is an international pariah and embarrassment!

    Republicans are America’s worst enemy!
    Vote all Republicans out now f office!

    Reply

  • MH/Duuuval

    April 2, 2024 at 10:44 am

    The single Florida Supreme Court justice to dissent in the vote to overturn the privacy clause of the constitution was Jose Labarga, appointed by Charlie Crist who was then a Republican Governor.

    The right to privacy had been firmly fixed any a subsequent court decision, so the present MAGA court — like their peers on the US Supreme Court — decided they knew better.

    Reply

    • MH/Duuuval

      April 2, 2024 at 10:45 am

      by, not any

      Reply

  • MH/Duuuval

    April 2, 2024 at 8:00 pm

    A 60 percent majority is required now in Florida for a successful ballot initiative. The MAGAs added this to the Constitution just a few years ago by way of an initiative with the 50 percent threshold. Cunning. but unethical.

    Watch how they go about suppressing the vote.

    Reply

    • Josh Green

      April 2, 2024 at 11:02 pm

      Legal Marijuana and Legal Abortion is popular enough that it should be able to clear the 60% hurdle.

      Reply

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 3, 2024 at 11:13 am

        Perhaps both will pass, I hope so, but 60 percent is difficult to achieve in a purple state, and Dee will be turning loose the hounds of disinformation and voter suppression.

        Reply

        • Marvin M.

          April 4, 2024 at 12:12 am

          Florida is now used to having to reach 60% for amendments. We’ve done it before.

          If we did it for restoring [some] felons’ rights to vote, we can sure as s&!™ do it do help insure women, rather than government, be in control of reproductive health decisions.

          Reply

    • Nope

      April 3, 2024 at 1:48 am

      I take a different view of the 60% threshold. Regardless of my opinions of these 2 initiatives. We are talking about changes to the state constitution. I really think it should be a 2/3 supermajority. It’s not ok to want a 50% + 1 threshold just because of certain issues which really need to be handled at a voter level. The unforeseen consequences could be devastating and you wouldn’t want it going the other way. I agree with you about the way it was done and even why it was done. But really don’t want to be one of those amendment happy states. It gets ugly and it’s scary hard to fix once something is messed up. Vote the beggars out. Show up, people. I get the stakes. But long term I don’t want a low threshold for anybody for any reason and especially given how the last 6 years have gone down.

      Reply

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 3, 2024 at 1:52 pm

        The damage has been done and you may get your 2/3 margin — which should protect the Uber-rich from ever paying their fair share of taxes in Florida, instead maintaining the burden on average folks via sales taxes and fees.

        Reply

      • Josh Green

        April 3, 2024 at 7:40 pm

        “I really think it should be a 2/3 supermajority.”

        Just say it already. You want a king to run a theocracy and don’t give a f*ck about what people want.

        Reply

        • MH/Duuuval

          April 3, 2024 at 7:59 pm

          Some folks — MAGAs in training — were traumatized by the Florida referendum a few years on providing a humane living space for pregnant pigs. The livestock industry has a history of industrial production of meat, which has been abusive of animals, and it was patently clear the Florida Legislature was not going to step in due to the malign influence of lobbyists and money. (It was also easier to get on the ballot then, too. Now there are a number of hurdles that only Big Money can overcome.)

          Reply

        • Nope

          April 3, 2024 at 9:16 pm

          Nope. You are all willfully misunderstanding me. The MAGA cult has destroyed this state I love and grew up in. I said in theory. Permanent changes to the constitution should be taken with extreme precaution and if you don’t believe me try researching what has happened in other states who treat their constitutions like a cash register receipt and were also overrun with MAGAs. I recognize things are a dumpster fire. But you also don’t solve a voter problem with referendums (which by the way I will be supporting). You solve it by getting people to show the F up at the polls and getting rid of these cancers. That was my point. But yeah, make your speeches and hate instead of actually thinking for a minute. Whatever extremes taken to fight corruption can also be used against those who seek to oust it and believe me they will. So you have to think. But no, go ahead and make your speeches. Why don’t you put all that anger to some use for a change.
          As for the pregnant pig referendum, which D used as a bully pulpit in his shameful run for office actually gleefully proclaiming his defense of disgusting abuses, I am a vegan animal rights activist who actually writes letters to Congress, donates, and volunteers, and am well aware of the abuses in the industry and put my money, time, and heart where my mouth is, so don’t even try that with me. Yes I agree we should use every means necessary to oust them. And once ousted, also prevent disastrous abuses of the constitution. The Supreme Court is already a lost cause. You can’t count on solving corrupt rule with just single referendums and you don’t want to permanently entrench abusive powers in the constitution. If you took a minute to think you would understand my point. Because what we are in fact dealing with is mob rule combined with gerrymandering. That is a tough nut to crack unless there is a sea change in voting patterns.

          Reply

          • MH/Duuuval

            April 4, 2024 at 11:52 am

            You overestimate your own power of reasoning — reasonable people can and do disagree all the time. Taking the long view is just that. Florida voters have a situation to deal with now. The MAGAs have shut off so many of the normal channels of political engagement in Florida that direct democracy via referenda and initiatives is one of the few remaining ways to influence governance.

  • Confused

    April 6, 2024 at 3:58 pm

    One comment for the thought is don hiding behind the church for economic reasons? Or making points with God knows who.

    Reply

  • Nope

    April 6, 2024 at 5:17 pm

    To MH/D: a) “You overestimate your own power of reasoning — reasonable people can and do disagree all the time.”
    –Maybe you overestimate (or I underestimate) the number of “reasonable people” who show up to vote in Florida and the idea things would go in the direction you consider reasonable.
    b) “Florida voters have a situation to deal with now.”
    –I already acknowledged that, and said my points were in theory, because things that work to benefit one direction can be weaponized in the other direction, as we have seen many times. This is a very serious point I was trying to get across.
    c) “The MAGAs have shut off so many of the normal channels of political engagement in Florida that direct democracy via referenda and initiatives is one of the few remaining ways to influence governance.”
    –I stand by my point which is that constitutional changes do not and should not replace normal voter engagement. The one party state takeover might have suppressed on many (many) levels, but to my knowledge it’s still legal to vote the opposite party. It’s a math problem. Too many people who would not vote MAGA either don’t even register or don’t show up and don’t engage, while those who do support MAGA do show up. No amount of referenda will change that. In fact, they may just reflect it further. Maybe not in these 2 instances. We will see.

    I always appreciate your points of view and sparring with you.

    Reply

  • Rick Whitaker

    April 7, 2024 at 11:41 am

    nope, florida is an enigma to me. i really don’t know which way it will go. the heavy christian element is the part that scares me. christians usually vote as a group the opposite of me. i agree with you though that the referendum route should work. but with the christian vote, i’m scared as a progressive dem.

    Reply

  • Nope

    April 7, 2024 at 5:07 pm

    Rick, agreed, Florida is the land of unintended consequences. I guess I could have spared the 3000 words and just said that. I suspect however people vote, many will keep it to themselves.

    Reply

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