Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America reacted Monday to journalist Megyn Kelly’s interview with DeSantis, who is running for president in the 2024 election. Kelly had asked DeSantis whether he was in support of federally banning abortions.
The Florida governor, who recently signed a bill banning abortions of unborn babies older than 6 weeks, told Kelly that he will “always come down on the side of life” and promised that he will be a “pro-life president.” But DeSantis did not say what kind of federal protections for the unborn he supports and emphasized that the country is divided on abortion.
His response sparked a rebuke from SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who called his remarks a “dismissal” that was “unacceptable to pro-life voters.”
“A pro-life president has a duty to protect the lives of all Americans,” she said in a statement. “He should be the National Defender of Life.”
DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin emphasized DeSantis’ strong pro-life record in Florida to The Daily Signal on Monday afternoon, saying: “Governor DeSantis delivers results and acts, especially when it comes to protecting life.”
“He did so in Florida by signing the heartbeat bill and will be a pro-life president,” Griffin added, noting: “He does not kowtow to D.C. interest groups. This unjustified attack on him is another example of the D.C. political games that have seen conservatives falter in Washington while Governor DeSantis has produced unmatched conservative victories in Florida.”
SBA’s response is particularly of moment considering the sway that the national pro-life group has with not just presidential candidates and elections, but also lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The organization closely follows the changes in abortion policy across the country and scores lawmakers on their abortion votes.
When former President Donald Trump’s campaign spokesman suggested in April that Trump wanted to leave abortion up to the states, Dannenfelser fired back that such a position is “morally indefensible,” reminding Trump that he is a “self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate.”
SBA has also promised to oppose any GOP candidate that does not back a 15-week federal ban on abortions. And on Monday, Dannenfelser emphasized polling indicating a clear consensus “for protecting babies in the womb at least by the point they can feel pain at 15 weeks, while allowing states to enact stronger protections.”
“The pro-life movement and the American people deserve a president who will boldly advocate this consensus and will work to gather the votes necessary in Congress,” she said.
“A consensus is already formed. Intensity for it is palpable and measurable,” Dannenfelser continued. “There are many pressing legislative issues for which Congress does not have the votes at the moment, but that is not a reason for a strong leader to back away from the fight. This is where presidential leadership matters most.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence has challenged the 2024 field to support a federal law protecting babies born after 15 weeks.
It’s unclear where, exactly, Trump stands on a federal ban.
Vivek Ramaswamy has indicated that he would likely not support federal protections, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has said she would sign 15-week protections if such a law made it through Congress, but guesses this is unlikely, and both Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas have indicated they would sign a 15-week ban.
Mary Margaret Olohan is a senior reporter for The Daily Signal. She previously reported for The Daily Caller and The Daily Wire, where she covered national politics as well as social and cultural issues. This first appeared in the Daily Signal.