(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Pro-life advocates criticized former President Donald Trump after he said that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida’s fetal heartbeat law was a “terrible thing” during an interview on Sunday.
DeSantis, who is running against the former president for the 2024 Republican nomination, signed an abortion bill in April that prohibits the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks. Trump called the bill a “mistake” and said he would not sign a 15-week federal abortion ban if it came across his desk as president during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the country needs a “human rights advocate” who will save the “lives of children” and help “mothers in need.”
“Every single candidate should be clear on how they plan to do that. It begins with focusing on the extremes of the other side, and ambition and common sense on our own,” Dannenfelser said. “Anything later than a 15-week protection for babies in the womb (when science proves they can feel pain) as a national minimum standard makes no sense. We thank Gov. Ron DeSantis for following the science and the will of the people by signing the Heartbeat Protection Act into law.”
Samantha D., a Live Action ambassador, told Trump to “get on board” and cited former Vice President Mike Pence, who said that he would support a 15-week minimum federal ban, according to a Twitter post.
— Samantha D. (@Prolife_Sam) September 17, 2023
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, also told the DCNF that there was “no reason” why a politician couldn’t support a federal ban on abortion. She also noted that almost half the states in the U.S. have enacted pro-life laws, and that laws like the one signed by DeSantis are the “compassionate and even popular thing to do.”
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, said that Trump’s comments “sparked concerns among Catholics” as to whether or not he is going to commit to this issue as he had in the past.
“Pro-life Catholic voters helped deliver him the White House in 2016, and a record number of votes in 2020,” Burch said. “He cannot expect to win again without these same voters. Any Republican presidential hopeful must draw a clear contrast to the extreme, taxpayer funded, unlimited abortion agenda of Joe Biden.”
Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, called the former president’s remarks “pathetic and unacceptable” in a Twitter post.
Pathetic and unacceptable.
Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe’s overturning.
Heartbeat Laws have saved thousands of babies.
But Trump wants to compromise on babies’ lives so pro-abort Dems “like him.”
Trump should not be the GOP nominee. https://t.co/oYRz3rNmre
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 17, 2023
Kristin Hawkins, president of Students for Life, also chastised Trump, arguing that “protecting human life at 5 or 6 weeks isn’t a ‘terrible thing’ … it’s the right thing,” according to a Twitter post.
— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) September 17, 2023
Trump came under fire from pro-life groups following the 2022 midterm elections after he blamed Republicans for pressing too hard on the abortion issue following the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in June of that year. DeSantis called out the former president in May for saying that he was “too harsh” on abortion, with the governor stating he was “proud to do it” and that “99% of pro-lifers” would likely be in support of fetal heartbeat laws.
The Trump and DeSantis campaigns did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.