Scott to huddle with anti-abortion organizations at Gov’s Mansionby John Kennedy | July 29th, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott plans to showcase new restrictions on abortion approved this spring by the Legislature, huddling Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion with representatives of the Florida Catholic Conference, Florida Baptist Convention and Florida Family Policy Council.
Scott’s already signed the measures into law. But Saturday’s event is aimed at touting what those opposed to abortion rights say was a milestone year.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said John Stemberger, president of the Family Policy Council, who plans to attend Saturday’s ceremonial bill signings. “Over the past 15 years, we’ve taken small steps, passing different pieces of legislation. But to have five major reforms pass as we did this year, I’d say that’s pretty big.”
The legislation divided lawmakers, with most Democrats opposing the measures. Among the most disputed was, legislation requiring a woman seeking an abortion to undergo ultrasound and be given a chance to view the results.
The sweep of abortion legislation prompted Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, to quip at one point during session that since ruling Republicans were so opposed to government regulation for business, his wife should “incorporate her uterus” to be left alone.
Randolph was admonished by House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, for the remark, that later drew nationwide attention.
During the session, parental notice requirements were toughened for minors seeking abortions, while another measure barred insurance companies from covering abortions under the new federal health care overhaul. Changes also were approved that allow dollars from Choose Life license tags to be distributed statewide to Choose Life, Inc., which counsels against abortion.
A proposed constitutional amendment for the 2012 ballot bans public tax dollars from going to abortions — mirroring an already existing federal ban. But the measure also would exempt abortion from Florida’s strong constitutional privacy provision — a standard that has scuttled previous legislative attempts at abortion restrictions.
Stemberger said he wasn’t sure if Scott would use Saturday’s event to call for more action by next year’s Legislature. Among the measures that failed to advance this year were those similar to a law approved by Nebraska in 2010 which restricted abortions after 20 weeks because opponents maintain a fetus can feel pain at that point.