Crist Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill From GOP Legislature

June 11, 2010 10:37 a.m.

Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who left the Republican Party a month and a half ago to run for Senate as an independent, has just vetoed an anti-abortion bill passed by the state’s Republican legislature, a further departure by Crist from Republican policies.

The bill would have required women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound, and to listen to a doctor give a description of the fetus. Crist had already been clearly hinting that he would veto the bill, once it reached his desk, calling it “mean-spirited.” It should be noted that Crist’s ultimate break with the Republican Party really occurred back in mid-April, when he vetoed another bill from the GOP legislature, which would have abolished tenure for new public school teachers and instituted strict merit-pay guidelines. He officially left the GOP about two weeks later, and has been continually moving towards the center ever since.

Also interesting is that in his official veto message, Crist articulates a position on abortion that might be construed as personally pro-life and politically pro-choice.

This bill places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I. However, the personal views should not result 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.

There are many medical or fiscal barriers that could be placed upon a woman in order to prevent her from following through on her constitutionally protected decision to end a pregnancy. However, such measure do not change hearts, which is the only true and effective way to ensure that a new life coming to the world is loved, cherished, and receives the care that is deserved.

Late Update: Crist’s Republican opponent Marco Rubio released the following statement:

“Once again, Charlie Crist has put politics ahead of principled policy-making. Not only would this commonsense measure have provided women with vital information as they make a critical decision, but now Governor Crist’s veto also clears the way for taxpayer funding of abortion in Florida. This veto will now make it harder for Florida to fight Obamacare, since the bill would have enabled our state to opt out of the abortion coverage mandate in the federal health care law.

“Even those who agree with the outcome of the Governor’s decision should be alarmed that an issue as serious and deserving of sober deliberation as this one was treated in such a calculating, political manner. Florida deserves a U.S. senator who will think issues through and let principles, not the politics of the moment, guide their decisions. Not surprisingly, his latest decision is only the latest in a long litany of examples in which Charlie Crist has broken his word to Floridians.”

Late Late Update: Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek also released a statement, making hay of Crist’s past record as an anti-abortion politician:

“Governor Crist’s veto today was a no-brainer. The governor can never escape his anti-choice past however hard he tries to run away from it. The personal decision a woman makes in private should not be dictated by a band of rigid philosophical conservatives with power in Tallahassee. I have fought my entire life for a woman’s right to choose and that fight continues,” said Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

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