Monday, June 14, 2010
A woman's right to choose without stipulations prevailed in Florida when on Friday June 11, Governor Charlie Crist vetoed HB 1143. Proposed and passed in the Florida state legislature by an overwhelming amount of House Republicans, the bill would have required women seeking a first-trimester abortion to pay for an ultrasound exam that ranges in cost from $200 to $1000. Upon receiving the ultrasound, the patient would then be required to view the ultrasound and listen to her doctor describe the fetus.
Had the unnecessary legislation been passed, women would have faced excessively intrusive government intervention when making a personal decision that is constitutionally protected. The keyword being personal. As a dissenter of HB1143, I personally detested the bill for a variety of reasons, including because I believe it cruelly intended to afflict an emotional burden on women during their most fragile moments. On a personal level, I am a Florida resident and I have feared how much the bill could have potentially affected my future reproductive decisions and the choices of my fellow Floridians, including my family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and classmates.
Despite criticisms from Marco Rubio, his conservative opponent for Florida Senate, who slammed Crist for "[putting] politics ahead of principled policy-making," Crist expressed that he could not pass a bill that "would violate a woman's right to privacy." Some Crist cynics claimed he signed the bill to sway voters in the fall 2010 Senate election.
Regardless of his potential political intentions, I am proud of Charlie Crist for ignoring criticisms from Republicans and coercing from anti abortion groups. While reading his veto memo, I deduced that Crist just "gets it" when it comes to the constitutionality of a woman's right to choose. He seems to understand that the right to choose is more than a feminist issue, a women's issue or a political platform; it is essential to preserving the sanctity of the constitutionally ensured right to privacy.
Photo credit to: freddthompson on flickr.com