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Times editorial: Charlie Crist should veto ultrasound bill

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From the Times editorial board: The timing of Gov. Charlie Crist’s declaration of independence could not have been better. Unshackled from Republican Party orthodoxy, Crist is free to judge bills passed by the Legislature on their merits. Perhaps his biggest test will be deciding the fate of a bill that infringes on constitutionally protected abortion rights. Crist should veto HB 1143, which would allow the government to dictate how a woman reaches a difficult personal decision.

This legislation declares the federal government shouldn’t dictate health care for individuals, yet it pushes state government between a woman and her doctor. The internal inconsistency of the bill, which passed by a largely party-line vote, indicates this is more about advancing a conservative social agenda in an election year than about thoughtful, coherent policy.

The most offensive provision would require every woman seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound, even if a doctor says one is not medically necessary or prudent. There is no exception to the ultrasound requirement for rape or incest victims, or if a woman’s life is endangered.

In fact, the only meager relief given provable victims of domestic violence, rape, incest or human trafficking, or women in life-threatening health circumstances is that they would not have to suffer through an oral description of the fetus as the ultrasound is occurring. All other women would have no choice but to hear these details. They may refuse to view the ultrasound if they fill out a form.

If an ultrasound is so vital, lawmakers could have the state pay the cost of $100 or more for each one. But since the bill’s true intent is to make abortion even more emotionally jarring and expensive, there was no provision for funding, just the mandate. Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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