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GOP Presidential Candidates Reevaluate Abortion Policy Following State Election Defeats

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night that abortion-rights ballot initiatives have caught the pro-life movement “flat-footed,” pointing to setbacks in this week’s state elections.

“Of all the stuff that’s happened to the pro-life cause, they’ve been caught flat-footed by these referenda,” Mr. DeSantis said. “You’ve got to do a better job on these referenda.”

Ohio voters on Tuesday approved a measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution. And Democrats in Virginia won control of both chambers of the state legislature in an election that their party made largely about protecting abortion rights.

Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, called on former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Mr. DeSantis to declare support for a 15-week federal abortion ban.

“I would encourage Nikki and Ron to join me at a 15-week limit. It is in our nation’s best interest,” he said.

Ms. Haley said there are not enough votes in Congress in favor of a national ban, so a Republican president would not be able to get it enacted.

“What I’ll tell you is as much as I’m pro-life, I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice, and I don’t want them to judge me for being pro-life,” she said.

“There are some states that are going more on the pro-life side. I welcome that. There are some states that are going more on the pro-choice side – I wish that wasn’t the case, but the people decided,” she said.

Mr. DeSantis said of his position, “I stand for a culture of life. We’re better off when everybody counts.”

Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy also said that male promiscuity has been missing from the abortion debate.

“We talked about access to contraception, adoption,” he said. “And also, here’s the missing ingredient in this movement: sexual responsibility for men.”

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