Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vetoed, But Still Curious

Florida Republican Governor turned Florida Independent Governor Charlie Crist has vetoed an anti-abortion rights bill, one of many "pro-life" initiatives in state capitals throughout the country, four days after receiving it from the legislature.

The Miami Herald reported a group named Bound 4 Life "held a daily silent prayer in the Capitol rotunda in support of the bill. On Tuesday, 14 members of the group stood silently with red tape covering their mouths and the word ``life'' written on the tape." Most of the 63,000 people writing or calling the Governor about the bill urged its approval, while one poll showed most residents opposed.

The bill had several provisions, including one which would have prohibited private health insurers from covering the cost of abortions, thereby requiring a pregnant woman to pay for an abortion herself or to purchase additional coverage. Still, the provision requiring a woman desiring an abortion (unless she could prove she is a victim of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking) to undergo, and view, an ultrasound undoubtedly motivated most of the fervent response of Floridians to the measure.

Even most fervent supporters of the effort to scare women out of making a rational choice of whether to terminate their pregnancy could support those four exclusions. Additionally, however, "women could opt out of viewing the ultrasound by signing a form."

No, no, really, that's true. The effect of that exception, presumably, would have been to give an "out" to the most informed women, those who would know of their right of refusal and would be bold enough to assert it.

But.... what is the point of a requirement ordering a woman considering an abortion to view an ultrasound- unless she doesn't want to? Was this provision merely a ploy of GOP legislators to endear themselves to their base while they strongly suspected that the Governor, expected to court Democratic/liberal voters in his re-election bid, would veto it?

There is no telling for sure, of course. However, it is clear that Florida's state legislature recognized that requiring a woman to view an ultrasound of a fetus would discourage abortion. The lives of innocent babies must be saved whenever possible, they no doubt reasoned. As long as the woman was congenial to the idea (did not sign a waiver)- and would pay for it herself, as required under the terms of the bill.

Yes, saving the most vulnerable of human lives (though that phrase is applied to almost any group we're interested in) is critical- as long as we don't have to pay for it ourselves. Because we all know life begins at conception- except that we won't pay one red cent to prove it. Fiscal conservatism, I suppose, trumps life.

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