DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Vice President Mike Pence said he expected to call out former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during this month’s Republican presidential debate for not insisting on a national abortion ban, an issue Pence says requires federal action.
"My former running mate, the governor of Florida and others are suggesting that the Supreme Court returned the question of abortion to the states," Pence told reporters while touring the Iowa State Fair on Friday. The 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade stripped away constitutional protections for the procedure.
"I truly do believe it’s vitally important that we seize the opportunity at the national level to advance protections for the right to life, and I’ll do so as president," he added. "This is a really big issue. It will be on the stage in Milwaukee."
Pence was referring to the Republican presidential debate scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.
Pence has recommended federal legislation that would ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks of pregnancy, a notion fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has also proposed.
Trump's position that the legality of abortion should be determined by states, not the federal government, was sharply rebuked by top abortion opponents, including the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America group. Trump's three Supreme Court nominees voted with the majority last year to overturn the 49-year-old decision that recognized a federal abortion right.
As governor, DeSantis has signed legislation this year banning abortion in Florida at six weeks though the change is before the state Supreme Court, but has not pressed for a national ban. That has also drawn criticism from the groups that rebuked Trump.
Trump has not said whether he plans to attend the debate in Milwaukee.