Abortion bans are toxic nationally, and most Floridians share the sentiment. A statewide poll conducted last year by University of North Florida found that 57% of Florida voters opposed GOP lawmakers’ 15-week ban, while just 34% supported it. A more recent February survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 64% of Floridians back legal abortions in all or most cases.
Still, Florida’s Republican honey badger just barreled toward that political landmine with a 6-week ban, which effectively stamps out most legal abortions in a southern state that has become a regional hub for the medical procedure. Out-of-staters seeking abortions in Florida spiked from 3,988 in 2020 to 6,708 in 2022, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.
Just how lethal is that 6-week ban to a budding presidential candidacy? Consider another GOP hopeful, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who earlier this week announced he has initiated a presidential exploratory committee. During a visit to Manchester, New Hampshire, Scott seamlessly demonstrated the Republican abortion trap when he was asked Thursday morning whether he would support a national ban.
Just after reiterating that he was “100% pro-life,” Scott quickly made the widest pivot known to humankind.
“I start with the very important conversation I had at a banking hearing,” Scott said, “when I was sitting in my office listening to Janet Yellen, the Secretary of the Treasury, talk about increasing the labor force participation rate for African-American women, who are in poverty by having abortions.” Wait … wut?
“I think we’re just having the wrong conversation,” Scott continued.
Indeed. Scott appears to have confused his abortion ban talking points with his jobs-and-economy spiel. But not by accident. The day before, he declined to tell CBS whether he would support the national 15-week abortion ban proposed by his Palmetto State colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham.
But back in Manchester following that Yellen head-scratcher, Scott told local ABC affiliate WMUR that he would most “definitely” sign a 20-week federal abortion ban.
Moments later, Scott added, “I think states have to solve that problem on their own.”
Scott then rounded out the day on Fox News, saying he would potentially consider a 15-week ban.
Hoo boy—that’s a lot of evolving in 24 hours.
Admittedly, Scott muddying the waters on the matter until he figures out a real stance is likely better than having put his personal imprimatur on a 6-week ban, à la DeSantis.
Note: Scott actually ventured out into the daylight.