Expectant grandfather Rick Scott ceremonially signs anti-abortion measuresby Dara Kam | July 30th, 2011
Expectant grandfather Gov. Rick Scott, Florida’s self-proclaimed jobs governor, shored up his conservative base Saturday with a ceremonial bill signing of four anti-abortion measures that are already law and went into effect nearly a month ago.
Scott, whose daughter Allison Guimard is five months pregnant with what will be his first grandchild, highlighted a controversial law requiring women to have ultrasounds and opt out of hearing the procedure’s details before getting an abortion. Scott’s predecessor Charlie Crist vetoed a similar bill last year.
“These bills are historic,” Scott told a crowd that included leaders from the Florida Baptist Convention, the Florida Catholic Conference and the Florida Family Policy Council. “It’s the right thing to be doing.”
On the campaign trail and since taking office, Scott has focused his attention on bringing jobs to the state where unemployment remains in the double digits and above the national average. Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped 1.4 percent since the former health care executive took office in January.
But on Saturday at the governor’s mansion, Scott flourished his social conservative side, making it clear that the intent of the measures is to discourage women from having abortions.
“I hope this helps make sure this doesn’t happen in the future,” he said.
The laws will “have an impact for generations,” Scott said. “It shows what Florida’s made of. It’s what we believe in in Florida.”
The passage of the measures earned Scott praise from anti-abortion supporters who have tried fruitlessly for years to get similar laws passed.
“Governor, we owe you a lot,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, a former head of the state’s Christian Conservative coalition.
The ceremonial signing so long after the bills were passed and went into law provided an opportunity for abortion opponents to congratulate themselves and Scott.
“A lot of people put a lot of effort into these things and so I think they want to have an event to memorialize it…A lot of people have worked on these bills years and years and years so it’s a way for them to celebrate that they got something accomplished,” he said.