Governors DeSantis and Newsom Clash Over Abortion During Debate

By Samantha Farnsworth, Texas Right to Life

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sparred with California Governor Gavin Newsom over their policy priorities and leadership. Fox News personality Sean Hannity moderated the debate, asking Newsom and DeSantis about a wide range of topics that matter to American voters. One of these topics was abortion.

After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, California and Florida took opposite approaches on abortion. Ron DeSantis signed a heartbeat bill, protecting preborn children with detectable heartbeats, similar to that of Texas. Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom opened his state as an abortion safe haven, promising to shield abortionists fleeing states that restrict abortion and to offer abortions on demand to women traveling from those states.

Hannity started the section by asking Newsom whether he supports any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. Newsom gave a boilerplate answer, first accusing DeSantis of signing an “extreme” six-week ban. As for those post-viability abortions, Newsom falsely stated that those are almost always because of fetal anomaly or because of an endangerment to the mother’s life. 

Thankfully, Hannity would not let Newsom get away that easily. Hannity continued specifically asking whether Newsom supports any abortion restrictions whatsoever, attempting to reveal the extent of his unpopular and extreme policy stance of supporting abortion up to birth. But in his attempt to avoid answering the question by saying he “trust[s]the mother and her doctor to make the right decision”, Newsom made it clear that he does not support any protections for preborn children at all.

Hannity then turned to DeSantis, asking why he took Florida from a fifteen-week ban on abortion to a heartbeat ban, around six weeks. DeSantis reiterated what he has said in previous debates — he supports a culture of Life where every human counts. The Pro-Life governor addressed Newsom’s claim that the vast majority of later abortions are medically necessary, citing that in Florida, 88% of abortions beyond fifteen weeks were elective, not medically necessary. 

Rather than respond to DeSantis’ point about elective post-viability abortions, Newsom pressed DeSantis as to whether the Pro-Life governor would sign any abortion restriction into federal law, particularly a six-week ban. Knowing his stance and his policy actions are indefensible, Newsom opted to call out his opponent rather than try to justify California’s extreme anti-Life law. 

DeSantis turned the pressure back on Newsom, asking him to respond to the moderator’s question on whether he supports any restrictions on abortion at all. Desantis did not try to hide the fact that he respects and values preborn human life. The discussion on abortion ended here. 

It is valuable for Americans to be fully aware of both governors’ approaches to abortion in their respective states. DeSantis is currently running to be the Republican nominee for president, while Newsom, though he claims to fully support Joe Biden’s race for reelection, is rumored to end up in the presidential race. 

This debate served to show how extreme California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the topic of abortion, entirely refusing to protect preborn life, but also refusing to acknowledge this. Newsom knows that his position is unpopular, and the majority of Americans support some restrictions on abortion. Telling the truth would lose him favor and admit how radically pro-abortion the Democratic Party has become.