In his opposition to COVID lockdowns and Federally imposed “private mandates” of vaccines, Ron DeSantis became a star for freedom by opposing them. His much smeared “Don’t Say Gay Bill” was in fact a legitimate parental rights in education bill given the context. However, he has made many missteps: from his verbal attacks on the freedom of speech of corporations, like Disney, which makes him appear thin-skinned, to now this:
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill approved by the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
The governor’s office said in a statement late Thursday that he had signed the legislation. The ban gives DeSantis a key political victory among Republican primary voters as he prepares to launch an expected presidential candidacy built on his national brand as a conservative standard bearer.
This is a recipe for DeSantis winning a battle (Republican Primary voters) but losing the war (winning a National election which requires independents).
The law contains some exceptions, including to save the woman’s life. Abortions for pregnancies involving rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of pregnancy, provided a woman has documentation such as a restraining order or police report. DeSantis has called the rape and incest provisions sensible.
Drugs used in medication-induced abortions — which make up the majority of those provided nationally — could be dispensed only in person or by a physician under the Florida law. Separately, nationwide access to the abortion pill mifepristone is being challenged in court.
Abortion bans are popular among some religious conservatives who are part of the GOP voting base, but the issue has motivated many others to vote for Democrats. Republicans in recent weeks and months have suffered defeats in elections centered on abortion access in states such as Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.
“Have we learned nothing?” House Democratic Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said of recent elections in other states. “Do we not listen to our constituents and to the people of Florida and what they are asking for?”
DeSantis, who often places himself on the front lines of culture war issues, had said he backs the six-week ban but had appeared uncharacteristically tepid on the bill. He has often said, “We welcome pro-life legislation,” when asked about the policy. [AP]
On a personality level, DeSantis needs to imitate the demeanor of Reagan and not Trump.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore