(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) — In an easily missed moment during Wednesday night’s chaotic GOP presidential primary debate, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would sign a federal 15-week abortion ban.
Wednesday’s comment marked the first time since the launch of his presidential campaign that he said he would sign a national abortion ban.
The Daily Signal was the first to report and confirmed the governor’s remarks.
The moment occurred during an exchange with Sen. Tim Scott, where he asked the governor if he would support a 15-week abortion ban. DeSantis said yes.
The moment was widely missed due to the moderators talking over the pair while the exchange was happening, trying to regain control of the debate.
Throughout his campaign, DeSantis, who has signed both a 15-week and six-week abortion ban in Florida, has walked a very fine line on abortion access, saying that he would be a “pro-life” president and support “pro-life legislation,” but has stopped short of saying he would support any national abortion ban.
This is a complete flip from the last debate in August, where the governor indicated that he would prefer states to make their own abortion laws.
“I understand Iowa and New Hampshire are going to do different. But I will support the cause of life as governor and as president,” DeSantis said during the August debate.
In a statement to ABC News, Scott’s campaign communications director, Nathan Brand, said they’re glad DeSantis is “on board” with a federal limit.
“Ron had months to advocate for a federal limit, yet discouraged efforts to protect life. If you’re going to back down on an issue, this is the one to do it on. Glad Ron is now on board.”
Just a few weeks ago, Scott criticized DeSantis, along with Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, at a town hall in Mason City, Iowa, for not “standing” with him on the issue.
DeSantis’ comments in Wednesday’s debate elicited a statement from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who applauded DeSantis’ agreement to support a 15-week abortion ban.
“We thank Governor Ron DeSantis for his commitment to support minimum federal protections for babies in the womb when they feel pain by 15 weeks, while keeping states free to be as ambitious as possible for life,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. “We thank Senator Tim Scott for raising this vital point in the debate and for advocating these protections for months, as has Vice President Mike Pence.
This past August, Dannenfelser attacked DeSantis for being non-committal to a 15-week abortion ban.
DeSantis now joins the rank and files of other presidential hopefuls who have committed to signing a national abortion ban if elected president, including Sen. Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence.
When asked by ABC News about the governor’s commitment to support a 15-week abortion ban, DeSantis’ communication director said the governor has always supported “pro-life legislation.”
ABC News’ Gabriella Abdul-Hakim contributed to this report.
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