Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s press secretary tore into President Joe Biden Friday after the president criticized the state’s upcoming pro-life legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks.
“Last night, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed a dangerous bill that will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health care,” Biden said in a tweet. “My Administration will not stand for the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights.”
Last night, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed a dangerous bill that will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. My Administration will not stand for the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 4, 2022
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw responded to the president by asking why he did not specify that the bill protects unborn babies after 15 weeks.
“That is when they can already feel pain and they’re getting close to viability,” she said. “Babies have been born at 20 weeks and survived. What you’re arguing for is unfettered LATE TERM abortion.”
Pushaw’s comments draw on the fact that the Biden administration has repeatedly refused to address where it draws the line on abortion, leaving many to infer that it has no objections to abortions at any stage of a pregnancy.
“These are protections for babies that have heartbeats, that can feel pain,” DeSantis said of the bill Friday. “And this [15 weeks] is very, very late. And so I think the protections are warranted. And I think that we’ll be able to sign that in short order.”
Why didn’t you mention that this bill is about protecting unborn babies AFTER 15 weeks? That is when they can already feel pain and they’re getting close to viability. Babies have been born at 20 weeks and survived. What you’re arguing for is unfettered LATE TERM abortion. https://t.co/yev52gRzsm
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 4, 2022
Democratic lawmakers submitted 13 amendments this week to the 15-week abortion ban, HB 5, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has signaled he supports the bill and will sign it. If he does, the new law would go into effect in July.
“The governor supports pro-life legislation and is not responding to outcry from pro-abortion activists,” Pushaw told The Daily Wire on Thursday, before the bill had passed the state senate. “The bottom line is that they’re demanding abortion after 15 weeks, which is when the fetus can already feel pain and is near viability; babies born as early as 20 weeks have survived.”
The bill permits exceptions when the mother’s life is at risk or in danger of “irreversible physical impairment,” or if the unborn baby has a fetal abnormality, such as Down Syndrome.
It does not offer exceptions for rape.
In a statement to The Daily Wire, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List thanked the Florida legislature for working hard to “pass commonsense limits on late abortions,” singling out Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Erin Grall.
“We’re excited this legislation is on its way to Governor DeSantis,” said SBA List State Policy Director Sue Liebel. “At a time when pro-abortion extremists in Washington are pushing a deeply unpopular agenda of abortion on demand until the moment of birth, states like Florida are fighting back to assert the will of the people.”
“This humane legislation would save more than 3,000 lives a year in Florida by limiting abortion at a point when science shows unborn babies can feel pain,” she continued. “Floridians of all stripes agree this would be a significant step forward for the Sunshine State. We appreciate Gov. DeSantis’ strong stand for women and children and greatly look forward to seeing him sign this bill into law.”
White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein, White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Julie Chavez Rodriguez, and Deputy White House counsel Danielle Conley hosted a roundtable discussion with abortion advocates Thursday as the bill passed the senate.
According to a White House press release, Florida abortion supporters shared their efforts to oppose the abortion legislation and senior administration officials stressed their support for abortion and “the larger trend of state laws restricting access” to abortion across the country.
“To date,” the White House press release said, “over 265 bills restricting access to abortion have been filed during the 2022 legislative session.”
The bill has filled Florida’s abortion supporters with anxiety as they await a decision in the Supreme Court case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks.
The case, which addresses whether bans on abortion before fetal viability are constitutional, may become the most pivotal abortion case in recent history, as it directly challenges the Supreme Court’s monumental Roe v. Wade decision.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.