Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign confirmed to The Daily Signal on Wednesday evening that he will support 15-week protections for the unborn.

In audio of the debate following DeSantis’ response to an abortion question, candidate Sen. Tim Scott can be heard asking DeSantis if he would support legislation banning abortions of babies after 15 weeks.

“Yes, I will,” DeSantis responds.

His campaign confirmed to The Daily Signal that he did indeed make this statement. Scott, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and former Vice President Mike Pence have also pledged to sign 15-week protections.

The move may garner support for the governor from pro-life groups like SBA List that have called for presidential candidates to support national legislation that protects unborn children by at least 15 weeks, which is when a baby can feel pain.

“We thank Governor Ron DeSantis for his commitment to support minimum federal protections for babies in the womb when they feel pain by 15 weeks, while keeping states free to be as ambitious as possible for life,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said late Wednesday.

“We thank Senator Tim Scott for raising this vital point in the debate and for advocating these protections for months, as has Vice President Mike Pence,” she added. “This standard reflects the consensus of seven in 10 Americans, in contrast to the Democrats’ no-limits agenda of abortion on demand, paid for by taxpayers, at any time for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Momentum is growing and all GOP candidates should unify around this offense strategy.”

DeSantis also rejected the idea that pro-life activists and voters are to blame for losses in the midterm elections, calling for Republicans to hold Democrats accountable for abortion extremism.

“I reject this idea that from pro-lifers are to blame for midterm defeats,” he said. “I think there’s other reasons for that.”

“The former president, he’s missing in action tonight,” DeSantis said. “He’s had a lot to say about that. He should be here explaining his comments to try to say that pro-life protections are somehow a terrible thing. I want him to look into the eyes and tell people who have been fighting this fight for a long time.”

DeSantis added that he believes “we should hold the Democrats accountable for their extremism, supporting abortion all the way up until the moment of birth.”

“That is infanticide,” he said, “and that is wrong.”

Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed emphasized in a statement that “in the moral struggle of our time, Republican candidates should not apologize or play defense when it comes to defending innocent unborn human lives.”

“The GOP needs to get over the 2022 midterm election and return to offense on the abortion issue,” he said. “Candidates at every level should be hammering away at Joe Biden and Democrats for their extremism in advocating abortion on demand, taxpayer-funded abortion, and a federal abortion law that would overturn virtually every common-sense restriction that majorities of Americans support.”

“It was also encouraging to hear a defense of parental rights and the centrality of the family,” he added. “There is no path to the GOP presidential nomination that doesn’t run through the evangelical vote, and voters of faith expect to see a more unapologetic defense of their values before they decide to support a given candidate.”

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