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Ron DeSantis Avoids Speaking About Florida’s Abortion Ban in New Hampshire

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At a cease on his first journey to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about his efforts to supply tax reduction for Florida households. He talked about defunding variety packages at public faculties. He talked about his combat with Disney.

However what he didn’t point out was the six-week abortion ban he signed in Florida this yr.

The ban — which Mr. DeSantis selected to spotlight in his speeches to audiences in socially conservative Iowa this week — is a possible lightning rod for voters in additional average New Hampshire.

One New Hampshire Republican, Bob Kroepel, approached Mr. DeSantis after his speech in Rochester because the governor signed baseballs and took selfies with the group.

“Would you assist an abortion coverage that may enable option to a sure level?” Mr. Kroepel, who misplaced Republican primaries for governor in New Hampshire in 1998 and 2002, requested by means of the din of the group and audio system blaring nation music.

Mr. DeSantis dodged the thrust of the query, speaking as an alternative about his efforts to assist dad and mom after they’ve youngsters, together with by means of well being protection and common college alternative.

“So my spouse has a fatherhood initiative,” he replied. “We’ve additionally completed a number of stuff to assist new moms, like we now have a yr of postpartum well being protection for poor moms. Clearly, we’ve the academic alternative and a bunch of stuff that we’ve completed.”

“So we completely have a accountability to assist moms, that’s with out query, 100%,” Mr. DeSantis stated earlier than shifting on to the subsequent voter.

Abortion is prone to be some of the sophisticated points for Mr. DeSantis to debate, particularly if he wins the Republican nomination.

Moderates and independents are usually much less supportive of bans as early as six weeks, when many ladies have no idea they’re pregnant, and Mr. DeSantis has generally prevented speaking about abortion even in front of friendly audiences. To date, he has skirted questions on a federal abortion ban, suggesting that the matter ought to be left largely to the states.

“I feel on the finish of the day, preventing for all times and defending life actually is a bottom-up motion,” he stated in a Fox Information interview final week. “I feel we’ve been capable of have nice successes on the native degree.”

His primary rival, former President Donald J. Trump, has additionally not dedicated to supporting a federal abortion ban. Mr. DeSantis has used abortion to criticize Mr. Trump, after the previous president recommended that Florida’s ban was “too harsh.”

Republican leaders in New Hampshire say a six-week ban is just too excessive for voters of their state, which has a 24-week restrict.

Jason Osborne, the state’s Home majority chief, who has endorsed Mr. DeSantis, stated in an interview that he hoped the governor would state sooner or later within the marketing campaign that he wouldn’t strive “to make Florida’s abortion coverage countrywide.”

A nationwide six-week abortion ban “would go over like a lead balloon” with New Hampshire voters, Mr. Osborne stated after Mr. DeSantis’s Rochester occasion.

“Individuals don’t need it,” he added. If Mr. DeSantis had been to suggest such a ban, he stated, “I feel you’d see lots of people leap ship. I might lose a number of religion in him.”

Mr. Osborne stated he agreed with the governor’s technique of not taking a louder stance on abortion.

“I feel abortion is a type of points that shouldn’t be talked about in a presidential marketing campaign,” he stated.

Whereas Mr. DeSantis’s stump speech sometimes varies little from cease to cease, he does look like calibrating his message on abortion. In Iowa on Wednesday, he talked about Florida’s six-week ban, generally known as the Heartbeat Safety Act, throughout a prolonged recounting of his report as governor. “We have now enacted the heartbeat invoice,” he informed a crowd in Cedar Rapids earlier than being drowned out by cheers and applause.

However he didn’t point out the invoice at a number of stops in New Hampshire on Thursday.

Even New Hampshire voters who stated they assist a six-week ban stated they understood why Mr. DeSantis was unlikely to speak a lot concerning the concern.

“I imply, my gosh, there’s a lot blowback, proper?” stated Jennifer Hilton, 56, an unbiased who’s open to supporting Mr. DeSantis and heard him converse in Rochester. “And it’s so taken out of context, and such an emotional concern, that individuals can’t hear you.”

Sue Collins, an attendee at a DeSantis occasion in Salem, N.H., stated, “I’ll be sincere, I’m not strict pro-life, however I used to be not completely happy to see the six-week ban.” She added, “I want it wasn’t that strict, however it could not stop me from voting for him.”

Mr. Kroepel, the Republican who approached Mr. DeSantis, stated that “on steadiness,” he was not glad with how the governor had answered his query. Even so, he acknowledged the difficulties of the dialogue.

“I perceive how delicate this complete scenario is,” Mr. Kroepel stated. “So I give him credit score for not less than listening to me.”

Ann Klein contributed reporting from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Amanda Pirani from Salem, N.H.

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