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Crist, Rediscovering His Inner Moderate, Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill

| June 11, 2010

Floridians are getting a different look at their prodigal moderate. (Lindsay Beyerstein photo)

On April 15, it was the veto of Senate Bill 6–the Legislature’s attempt to bust the state’s teacher unions–that signaled Gov. Charlie Crist was done with the GOP. Thirteen days later he made it official by leaving the party. On the first day of June he vetoed a bill that would have turned property insurers into unregulated predators: they would have been allowed to raise rates and deny claims almost without regulatory review.

Today, he vetoed a bill that would have forced women and girls who want a first-trimester abortion to (with few exceptions) pay from $750 to $1,500 for an ultrasound and look at the results before getting the abortion, or to hear a health care professional describe the ultrasound to them. That requirement is a law in Florida for second and third-trimester abortions, as it is in 13 other states, but 90 percent of all abortions are performed in the first trimester. The exception applies only to women who prove they have been victims of rape, incest or domestic violence. The burden of proof on women in those instances is identical to the burden of proof on women who charge rape in countries where Islamic, or Sharia, law, holds sway, such as Afghanistan (whether under Taliban control or not), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Sudan.

“The bill places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy,” Crist wrote in his veto letter. “Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I. However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary. In this case, such action would violate a woman’s right to privacy.”

The bill, known in Tallahassee as HB 1143, was sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher, who represents most of Flagler County. (Today, Flagler School Board member Colleen Conklin announced that she would not run against Thrasher in the coming election, saying that a candidate from Duval County would.)

The Florida House Republican office issued a statement denouncing Crist’s veto seven minutes before the veto was announced, according to the Associated Press. “This is just another example of Charlie Crist saying something publicly one day and then doing the opposite the next,” said House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach. “Charlie Crist is becoming easy to predict: disregarding principle, previous statements or public assurances, he will switch his positions to whatever he thinks will get him the most votes.” (Hasner is no foreigner to ideological flip-flops: a supporter of public, Christian prayer at the Legislature, he walked out when an Imam was readying to deliver a prayer to the House chamber in late April.)

The abortion bill also forbids Floridians who take part in health care reform’s insurance exchanges to use any of their insurance services–private services–to pay for abortions.

Crist is in a three-way race for a U.S. Senate seat. Republican Marco Rubio, who is supported by the tea party movement, opposes abortion outright. Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is pro-choice. Crist himself is personally opposed to abortion. In his veto message, he wrote: “Such measures do not change hearts, which is the only true and effective way to ensure that a new life coming into the world is loved, cherished and receives the care that is deserved.”

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2 Responses for “Crist, Rediscovering His Inner Moderate, Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill”

  1. elaygee says:

    Charlie’s going to be the next Senator becasue he is the only reasonable choice.

  2. Bob K says:

    Charlie Crist, as I always suspected, is just another unprincipled politician that will do or say anything to get elected. He only left the Republican party WHEN IT BECAME APPARENT HE WOULD LOSE THE NOMINATION. You can go ahead an ask Benedict Specter how that worked out for him.

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