Florida abortion ban leads Biden and DeSantis to exchange barbs about the legislation

by mcardinal

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 


President Joe Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have swapped barbs over Florida’s decision to pass the post-15-week ban on abortions, a move that has Democrats up in arms. 

Following the news of the legislation passing on a near party-line vote, DeSantis announced that he planned to sign it into law, according to Florida Politics, despite Democrat frustration with no exceptions for rape and incest. The bill restricts access to abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy except for cases where two or more doctors agree on the presence of a “fatal fetal abnormality.”

“I think the protections are warranted, and I think that we’ll be able to sign that in short order,” DeSantis told reporters in Jacksonville Friday morning. “These are protections for babies that have heartbeats, that can feel pain, and this is very, very late,” DeSantis said.

Biden released a statement on Twitter shortly after the news broke: 

“Last night, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature passed a dangerous bill that will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare. My administration will not stand for the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights,” Biden said.

DeSantis’s office responded to the president’s statement when spokesperson Christina Pushaw defended the legislation: 

“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,” Pushaw said.

Vice President Kamala Harris also stood up against the defense of the unborn, calling the legislation unconstitutional: 

“The right of women to make decisions about their own bodies is non-negotiable. If signed into law, Florida’s bill would violate the constitutional right to abortion that the Supreme Court has recognized for nearly 50 years. It will block access to crucial reproductive healthcare for Floridians, with a particular impact on low-income communities, communities of color, and rural communities,” Harris said in the statement.

“Unconstitutional abortion bans and other bills that will dramatically reduce access to reproductive care are pending in state legislatures across the country. These efforts only strengthen our resolve: The Biden-Harris administration will continue to do everything in our power to protect access to healthcare and defend a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and determine her future.”

Biden’s attitude on abortion has been heavily criticized by fellow Catholics, including on Wednesday, which was a Catholic holy day kicking off lent, prompting a reporter to question his support of the rights. 

“As a Catholic, why do you support abortion, as a Catholic, defying church teachings,” a reporter asked Biden outside the White House, as he wore an ashen cross on his forehead, Fox News reported. However, as the question was asked first lady Jill Biden came to the president and took his hand seemingly ready to guide him off the stage.

“I don’t want to get in a debate with you on theology, but you know, well anyway, I’m not going to make a judgment for other people,” Biden said, as the reporter persisted in the question saying, “but you’re Catholic.” The question was eventually drowned out by other questions.  

Previously, Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin called on Pope Francis to deny the president communion due to his support of abortion, according to Fox News.

“Dear Pope Francis, you have boldly stated that abortion is ‘murder,’” Tobin said. “Please challenge President Biden on this critical issue. His persistent support of abortion is an embarrassment for the Church and a scandal to the world. Thank you.”

The pope did not oblige Tobin, telling Biden to continue to receive communion.