▶ Watch Video: Rep. Nancy Mace says GOP has to find “middle ground” on abortion

Washington — GOP Rep. Nancy Mace on Sunday urged her fellow Republicans to find “middle ground” on the issue of abortion and warned that stringent limits, such as the six-week ban enacted in Florida earlier this month, are “not compassionate.”

In an interview with “Face the Nation,” Mace said that abortion is the second-most important issue to voters in her district behind inflation, and she pushed Republicans to find common ground with Democrats on how late into a pregnancy abortions should be allowed.

“There’s so much when it comes to protecting life and protecting women that we can agree on in terms of gestational limits, that’s something that can happen at the state and the federal level,” Mace said on “Face the Nation.”

The South Carolina Republican said she supports a 15-to-20-week abortion ban with exceptions for pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, calling it the “sweet spot.”

“Democrats often are at 24 weeks, and that’s too far for a lot of people,” Mace said. “No one wants zero.”

Rep. Nancy Mace on “Face the Nation” on April 30, 3023.

CBS News

But she criticized recent action taken in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, signed into law earlier this month a bill that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. 

“Signing a six-week ban that puts women who are victims of rape and girls are victims of incest in a hard spot isn’t the way to change hearts and minds. It’s not compassionate,” Mace said. “The requirements he has for rape victims are too much, not something that I support, is a non starter.”

Mace urged Republicans to show “more care and concern and compassion for women who’ve been raped,” and warned that supporting strict restrictions on abortion will make it difficult for Republicans to succeed in the next general election.

“It puts them in a very difficult position for a general election in my opinion, which is why I have been so vocal on this issue,” she said. “I would like us to win, I would not only like us to win the Electoral College, I want us to win the popular vote.”

Mace said Republicans should also be focusing on other issues related to reproductive health, such as improving access to birth control in rural areas, improving the foster care and adoption systems and making sure rape kits are processed quicker. 

“There’s so many things that we can work on to show that we’re pro-women,” Mace said, adding, “we can do both. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, ending the constitutional right to an abortion, more than a dozen states have imposed near-total bans on abortion or enacted laws curtailing access to abortion. The decision from the high court was a major victory for Republicans who for years pushed for Roe’s reversal, but it has also thrust the issue of abortion back into the forefront of national debate

Abortion is expected to be a major focus of the 2024 election and the GOP presidential primary, and Republicans are already at odds over what restrictions they would support if elected to the White House.