Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crist Vetoes Abortion Bill

From the Miami Herald:

Gov. Charlie Crist rejected a controversial abortion bill Friday, using his veto pen to repudiate the conservative Republicans who elected him and championed the legislation as ”the most significant pro-life measure in Florida’s history.”

The legislation required most women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound and listen to a doctor describe the fetus, unless they sign a form to opt out, and included a provision to ensure that tax dollars didn’t cover elective abortions.

”This bill places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate pregnancy,” Crist wrote in his veto message, saying he put his personal “pro-life” views aside in making the decision.

”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,” he said.

The anti-abortion forces and social conservatives who backed Crist as a GOP governor expressed dismay.

”If you really wanted people to change hearts, what better way than to see a heartbeat,” said state Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, the sponsor of the ultrasound provision. ”There are a lot of broken hearts today.”

”Unborn life will be destroyed at the expense of taxpayers,” said state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. ”The governor lacks a party affiliation. Today we learned that he also lacks a moral compass.”

More than anything, the veto made Crist take a formal stance on abortion at an inopportune time, given the tenacious three-way fight for the U.S. Senate in which Crist is running as an independent.

I’m glad he vetoed the bill; it was just another attempt by the anti-choice crowd to gain control over women. But I also can’t escape the conclusion that privacy and women’s rights were not the main motivating factors in the decision.