December 5, 2023

FACT CHECK: Gavin Newsom Spreads the Same Lie About Florida’s Abortion Laws at Recent Debate


At the recent Fox News debate between Governor Ron DeSantis and Governor Gavin Newsom, the debate got heated when it came to abortion. DeSantis offered some excellent commentary, which we have covered in a separate blog on the Students for Life Action (SFLAction) blog.

However, Newsom repeated a lie he’s made before, specifically in campaign ads he launched ahead of the Fox News debate. According to the language from those ads:

“Wanted: by order of Governor Ron DeSantis; any woman who has an abortion after 6 weeks, and any doctor who gives her care, will be guilty of a felony.

Abortion after 6 weeks will be punishable by up to 5 years in prison… even though many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at 6 weeks.

That’s not freedom – it’s Ron DeSantis’ Florida.”

At the debate, he repeated that same falsehood. During a heated exchange with Sean Hannity, Newsom said: “any woman who has an abortion after six weeks — and any doctor who gives her care — will be guilty of a felony.”

But that’s not correct.

According to a fact check done by PolitiFact, an abortion-supporting source:

“DeSantis signed a bill banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The 2023 law says that anyone who “actively participates in” an abortion commits a third-degree felony.

The law penalizes physicians. The question is whether it would allow charging women for their abortions. The ad makes it sound like that is settled. It’s not.”

That same fact check from PolitiFact also notes:

“DeSantis in a September CBS News interview said the penalties in the 2023 law are for the medical practitioners, not pregnant women, his campaign told PolitiFact.

Nationwide, some Republican lawmakers have supported bills that punish women with prison time for abortions, but it is not a widely embraced idea throughout the anti-abortion movement.”

This last part is very important, as Newsom’s broad swipes at DeSantis have little to do with the law itself but is instead an attempt to pain the pro-life movement at large as extremists who want to punish or hurt women. Students for Life of America doesn’t support any legislation that seeks to arrest women.

The Capitol building in downtown Tallahassee Florida undergoes a renovation but still looks good.

In Florida, legislation has been filed to clarify existing law to ensure no one can continue to claim confusion about women being prosecuted, even though only Democrats like Newsom and his friends in the media seem confused about the law — it does not seem to be confusing to prosecutors.

Students for Life Action has model legislation on various pro-life topics – including Life at Conception model legislation, Heartbeat Abortion Prevention Act model legislation, and model legislation Ending Chemical Abortions. All these sample bills expressly state that no woman shall be charged with a crime for having an abortion committed on her.

Ultimately Newsom showed America that there’s no lie he won’t tell to win – unfortunately for him, the truth bats last.

READ: VICTORY: Students for Life Action Commends Final Passage of Florida Heartbeat Abortion Prevention Act, Encourages Governor DeSantis to Quickly Sign Bill to Prove Establishment Got It Wrong on Abortion