Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday vetoed
a bill that had been described as the most
significant pro-life measure in the state’s history.
HB 1143 required women seeking abortions to obtain an ultrasound beforehand and have the
image explained to them. The bill also prohibited private health insurers that
receive state or federal subsidies from providing coverage for abortions.
Crist expressed concerns about HB 1143
shortly after it was passed in late April and strongly hinted that he would
oppose the measure in mid-May. After Friday’s veto, he said the bill “places an inappropriate
burden on [a] woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy,” the Tampa
who is running for the U.S. Senate, has said he “strongly supports the sanctity
of life” but recently removed the pro-life section from his campaign website.
In April he changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent in
hopes of defeating Republican newcomer Marco Rubio, who is pro-life.
office said more than 36,000 people wrote or e-mailed in support of the bill,
while 27,000 people lobbied for a veto, prompting some Republican lawmakers to
say the governor ignored the will of the people.
Crist said the bill’s supporters may have been part of an organized effort, the
Tribune reported. He said he heard anecdotally that most Floridians
opposed the measure. A May Ipsos Public Affairs pol showed
that 55 percent of voters wanted Crist to veto HB 1143 while 31 percent
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, which
lobbied for the bill, called the veto “profoundly disappointing.”
“[Crist’s] often stated commitment as a
populist for ‘the people’ is apparently meaningless as the majority of
Floridians are pro-life and support the bill as evidenced by the overwhelming
show of support,” Stemberger said. “He has now gone full circle from being
pro-choice in his original U.S. Senate bid to being ‘pro-life’ in his bid for governor and now he [has] clearly defined himself as pro-abortion once again.”
pro-life leaders will continue to work to pass an ultrasound bill. He said this
is the fourth year such legislation has been defeated.