The identity of the individual referred to as ‘Penny,’ featured in Ron DeSantis’ abortion anecdote during the Republican primary debate, has been disclosed. The woman in question is Miriam ‘Penny’ Hopper, an anti-abortion activist from Michigan and a grandmother. In the debate, DeSantis shared Penny’s story to underscore his anti-abortion position, narrating her survival after her parents’ attempted abortion in 1955.
While the authenticity of Penny’s account cannot be fully verified, she has recounted her story for years. In response to DeSantis’ account, critics accused him of dishonesty, labeling the story as unbelievable. Nonetheless, Penny’s background as an anti-abortion activist has been confirmed, although the specifics of her story lack concrete documentation. Her family members who were involved in the events have passed away.
Hopper’s narrative revolves around her mother’s pregnancy-related complications in 1955 when abortion was illegal. Allegedly, a doctor suggested aborting the baby, but Penny’s grandmother intervened and rescued her. Although experts noted the low survival chances for a 23-week-old baby born in 1955, Hopper’s story has had a profound effect on DeSantis. He signed a bill banning abortions after six weeks into pregnancies, a move that has garnered both support and criticism.
While DeSantis’ interview with Tucker Carlson gained significant attention, he faced backlash for his low ratings during the Republican primary debate. In contrast, Donald Trump celebrated the popularity of his interview with Carlson. He claimed that his interview had become the most-watched video and interview in history, although this is not a direct comparison due to differences in how ‘views’ are counted. The debate’s viewership was declared by Fox to be a significant achievement in terms of cable telecasts, although social media metrics may pose a challenge to cable news networks.