Apr 29, 2024 - Politics

Florida Democrats see Scott's abortion stance as opening in key Senate race

Senator Rick Scott speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington.

Sen. Rick Scott has a long anti-abortion track record but has wavered on the state's six-week ban. Photo: Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott can't evade the issue of abortion access on the campaign trail β€” but he can make his stance harder to pin down.

Why it matters: The state Supreme Court's abortion shot and chaser set the table for an election that will pit Republicans against the very reproductive rights that they've fought for years to curtail.

  • Florida Democrats are eager to tie Scott to Florida's near-total abortion ban as he tries to soften his stance on the issue.

Friction point: Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell criticized Scott's views on abortion within four seconds of announcing her Senate campaign against him in a promotional video.

  • Mucarsel-Powell β€” who received a nod from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden β€” is considered the party's best shot at flipping the Florida Senate seat.
  • Florida Democrats send frequent emails about Scott's past support of a national abortion ban, his vow as governor to sign every "pro-life" bill that came to his desk, and support for the six-week ban.

Scott expressed hesitation, but never opposed Florida's six-week abortion ban, and has said that he would have signed the bill into law if he were governor.

Yes, but: He's also equivocated on the issue.

  • Scott told The Hill earlier this month that he would prefer to see a 15-week ban in Florida with exceptions for "rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother."
  • He went further in an interview with The Washington Times last week. "We ought to be where the consensus is," Scott said. "In my state, that consensus is 15 weeks."

What they're saying: Will Hampson, a spokesperson for the Scott campaign, tells Axios the senator's stance is "clear."

  • "No national bans, with the consensus at 15 weeks with limitations for rape, incest and life of the mother," he says.

The other side: "Scott is a fraud who knows he won't win if he's honest with Florida voters about his radical reproductive rights agenda," Mucarsel-Powell tells Axios.


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