Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Abortion bill deserves a veto

You could call it a sneaky, last-minute ploy to circumvent a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion, if it weren't so laughably transparent.

Not that there's much to laugh at in House Bill 1143, which in part would require a woman to pay for and undergo an ultrasound before she could have an abortion. Unless, of course, newly indy Gov. Charlie Crist nixes it with his veto pen and rights some wrongheaded legislation.

The abortion language in the controversial bill, pushed through in the last days of the legislative session, is a blatant attempt to shame a woman who is making a difficult and intensely personal decision into backing down.

Should the measure become law, any woman seeking an abortion must first get an ultrasound, which she also must pay for. Then she is shown the pictures, and a doctor explains them to her before she can have the procedure, unless she completes a form saying she doesn't want to see them.

Nothing chilling about all that, right?

She must have this ultrasound unless she can present "a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court order or documentation" that is evidence she is pregnant because she is a victim of incest, rape, domestic violence or human trafficking.

Nothing chilling there, either.

If the barbaric, stoning-in-the-public-square tone of this isn't enough, consider the intrusion on the private relationship between a patient and her doctor. And consider who it will most effect: those who can't afford the additional $200 an ultrasound can cost.

Two female senators, both Republicans, voted for the bill: Ronda Storms (no surprise) and Paula Dockery, the Lakeland Republican running for governor. Dockery initially voted against the addition of the abortion language in the larger health care bill but later changed her vote to yes.

But here was Dockery this week, sounding like she was lamenting that vote.

"We say we don't think the government should tell us we have to buy health insurance, we don't think the government should mandate any particular medical services," she said Tuesday on WUSF radio's Florida Matters. "Yet we as Republicans pushed forward a bill that was mandating a service, meaning an ultrasound.

"I think that bill is ripe for a governor's veto."

So now it's up to Crist, who already showed some stick and won some hearts by vetoing the teacher tenure bill.

He may win more if he pushes on with an anti-oil-drilling stance, particularly with opponent Marco Rubio maintaining that drilling should still be part of the energy plan even as a catastrophe oozes out there in the gulf.

So will Crist, who for the record is pro-life, risk losing a conservative segment of the electorate that sees no shades of gray on this, and veto the abortion bill?

Oh, that's right. He already lost them.

He has some room for duck-and-cover: A new Oklahoma law requiring a woman to undergo an ultrasound and hear a detailed description was put on hold this week by a judge, pending a legal challenge on grounds including privacy and equal protection.

Or our governor can reject the bill for a more straightforward reason: because it's bad law.

Abortion bill deserves a veto 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.