Florida governor Ron DeSantis said he will not support punishment for women who violate abortion bans.

Mr DeSantis had signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida earlier this year while he was preparing to launch his presidential candidacy.

The GOP presidential candidate, who is challenging former president Donald Trump’s presidential bid, sat down for an interview with NBC with his wife Casey DeSantis.

When he was asked whether he supported punishments for those who violate an abortion ban, Mr DeSantis responded saying, “Not at all”.

“No, I don’t think this is an issue about the woman. I think a lot of these women, you know, are in very difficult circumstances. They don’t get any support from a lot of the fathers,” he said.

“And a lot of them, the number one reason why women choose to have an abortion is because they’re not getting support and they feel abandoned,” he said.

“Now, in Florida we’ve provided support and we’ve put our money where our mouth is, but at the end of the day, you know, I would not support any penalties on a woman.”

He was also asked by the broadcaster if he would “veto any sort of federal bill that tries to put a nationwide ban in place”.

“We will be a pro-life president and we will support pro-life policies,” he responded.

The topic of punishments for those violating abortion laws has remained a tough spot for Republicans, including Mr Trump who has gone back and forth on his stance on the issue during his presidential run in 2016.

Mr Trump had sparked a firestorm when he had said “there has to be some form of punishment” to women who got illegal abortions, saying it “is a very serious problem, and it’s a problem we have to decide on”.

But he quickly backtracked on his statement after he faced an outburst of criticism from a diverse group of Democrats, anti-abortion and pro-abortion-rights organisations and even some Republicans.

Mr Trump had to release a statement, saying “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman”.

On Monday, Mr DeSantis also said he does not support limits on contraception.

“No, no, no, no,” he said.

“Contraception in Florida – we actually, our Department of Health, we provide about 100,000 people a year with access to contraception at no cost to them. And I think it should be available over-the-counter, and I think people should be able to have access to it.”

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