Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott weighed in against several proposals backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, including a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
In a Noticias Telemundo interview scheduled to air Friday evening, Scott said that the public supports more moderate abortion policies. A video of the full interview, which was taped earlier Friday in Miami, was shared by Telemundo with the Tampa Bay Times.
“That’s a tough issue for people. I mean, you have to be really compassionate about what people are going through. I think where most people are is (for) reasonable restrictions. And probably most people are (for) about 15 weeks with all the exceptions … for rape and incest and the life of the mother,” Scott said. “That’s where the population is, and … our state legislation ought to represent that.”
Florida law currently bans abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions for people whose health is threatened by the pregnancy or if their baby has a “fatal fetal abnormality,” but does not include exceptions for rape and incest.
Scott’s position counters DeSantis, who previously said that he supported the bill because “the issue is less (about the) week than the fact that there’s a detectable heartbeat.” Florida’s proposed six-week bill was filed earlier this week as part of the ongoing legislative session and, if passed, it would likely take effect only after the Florida Supreme Court rules on its existing abortion law.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. Scott and DeSantis have historically had a strained relationship, going back to when Scott, in his final days as Florida governor, made a series of last-minute appointments just before DeSantis succeeded him.
In the Telemundo interview, Scott also said he was against a DeSantis proposal to revoke in-state college tuition for “Dreamer” students, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Scott signed that legislation into law in 2014 and said he would sign it again today.
“You’re a little 5-year-old girl. You came here, you came through our system. I believe that if you’re an upstanding citizen, you’re not a criminal — I think you ought to get in-state tuition. I want those kids to do well,” Scott said.
Finally, Scott was also asked about a bill moving quickly through the Florida Legislature that would allow people to carry concealed guns without required permits or training. He didn’t throw his weight behind it, though he noted that he takes his cues on the topic from the local sheriffs (the Florida Sheriffs Association has endorsed it).
“We already have a concealed weapon program that works,” Scott said.