By Thursday morning in New Hampshire, Scott said he did believe some type of federal restriction should be implemented, and said if president, he would “definitely” sign into law a 20-week ban — a measure he has supported in the Senate.
“We have to have a federal limit on how far we can go, and that is something that we have to discuss,” Scott said in a local television interview in Manchester.
Pressed later on the issue outside the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, Scott deflected — accusing Democrats of hypocrisy and raising objections to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggesting that abortions could increase the African American workforce. He did not elaborate on how far the federal government should go to restrict abortions.
Scott is expected to hinge a potential presidential campaign on his Christian faith and court the evangelical vote — a voting bloc that overwhelmingly opposes abortion rights. But his answers over the past 24 hours suggest that he believes Republicans have done themselves no electoral favors by celebrating recent abortion restrictions and calling for sweeping national bans.
But by the standards of many in the GOP — and as red states around the country have passed six-week and even total bans — the 20-week ban that Scott said he would sign does not go far enough. Scott’s reluctance to weigh in on earlier, more restrictive bans illustrates the fine line he and other Republican White House hopefuls must walk. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has similarly avoided providing specifics about her position on a national ban, while former President Donald Trump has suggested that Republicans suffered electorally by not embracing exceptions to their abortion ban bills.
Scott in 2021 co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that proposed jailing doctors for up to five years for performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Scott did not directly answer a question about whether he agreed with prosecuting doctors who did so. He has, however, condemned a bill introduced in the South Carolina legislature that could impose the death penalty on women receiving abortions.