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June 11, 2010

NARAL Pro-Choice America Applauds Pro-Choice Victory for Florida Women

Bowing to pressure from pro-choice state lawmakers and voters, Crist vetoes divisive legislation

Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of an anti-choice bill a victory for Florida women.

In late April, extremist anti-choice Florida legislators amended H.B.1143, which previously had no relevance to reproductive rights, to insert dangerous attacks on women's right to privacy. The bill contains an abortion-coverage ban and a mandatory-ultrasound requirement. Crist vetoed the bill today.

"Gov. Charlie Crist did the right thing by listening to the pro-choice majority in Florida and vetoing this anti-choice bill that the state legislature rammed through at the last minute," Keenan said. "Floridians, like most Americans, are tired of lawmakers using women's reproductive health as a bargaining chip. It's time for politicians to stop interfering in the doctor-patient relationship."

NARAL Pro-Choice America mobilized activists in Florida, sending more than 1,200 messages to Gov. Crist urging him to veto this unprecedented anti-choice legislation.

Keenan offered a special word of thanks to Rep. Kendrick Meek, who called on Crist to reject the anti-choice bill and organized his supporters to pressure the governor to veto the bill. "We need more elected officials like Rep. Meek, who consistently do the right thing when it comes to women's health. We know he'll take that commitment to the Senate."

If enacted, the Florida bill would have undermined women's health and privacy in the following ways:

  • It would have prohibited insurers from offering comprehensive coverage that includes abortion to most customers in the new health-insurance exchange. It would not have even had an adequate exception for cases in which the woman's health is endangered.
  • It would have forced women to undergo an ultrasound before receiving abortion care, even when it is not medically necessary.
  • It would have required the provider to describe the ultrasound images to the woman even if she asked not to view them.

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