Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was one of a dozen governors Thursday who filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
DeSantis and 11 other Republican governors wrote to support a Mississippi law before the Supreme Court that would ban abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. At issue in the case is the question of “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
In the brief, the governors urged the justices to give “this issue back to the people” and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortions again.
“Governor DeSantis believes in the sanctity of life and protection of the unborn,” a spokeswoman for the governor told the Tampa Bay Times in response to the brief.
Last summer, DeSantis signed a pro-life law requiring underage girls to have at least one parent’s permission before having an abortion. A few months later, he told the Susan B. Anthony List Pro-Life Leaders Summit that “we will do everything we can to protect the unborn.”
When it comes to banning abortions, however, states are severely restricted by Roe v. Wade. The precedent set by Roe and subsequent abortion cases prevents states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. The Mississippi case is a direct challenge to that precedent.
In the brief, DeSantis and 11 other governors said many judges have recognized the Fourteenth Amendment does not include any “right to terminate the life of an unborn child” and none of the Supreme Court’s major abortion rulings claim otherwise. Yet, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court “somewhere” found a constitutional right to abortion and took away states’ rights to protect unborn babies, they wrote.
“The court should take this opportunity to correct the mistakes in its abortion jurisprudence and recognize that the text and original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment have nothing to do with abortion,” the governors told the Supreme Court.
Abortion activists quickly criticized the governors for their pro-life stance. Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, who used to work for Planned Parenthood, decried DeSantis as an “anti-abortion extremist” on Twitter.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is an anti-abortion extremist who doesn’t think I have the capacity or deserve the right to make decisions about my body or pregnancy,” Eskamani wrote.
But polls indicate that most Americans agree with the Mississippi law and believe states should be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion, especially after the first trimester.
A new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 65 percent of Americans believe most or all second-trimester abortions should be illegal and 80 percent believe most or all abortions should be illegal in the third trimester. Gallup polls also consistently find that a majority of Americans want all or most abortions to be illegal.
The justices are scheduled to hear the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in October.