The Phoenix Flyer

Charlie Crist vows to veto “any anti-choice legislation,” if elected as FL governor

By: - May 4, 2022 5:58 pm

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida delivered a speech marking his one year anniversary of his 2022 gubernatorial campaign during a press event in Tampa on May 4, 2022. Credit: Charlie Crist’s Facebook.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on Wednesday vowed to protect access to abortion care using veto authority if necessary, during a speech in Tampa marking the first anniversary of his 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

Crist, a Democrat who is a former Florida Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner, also made remarks about his past record as governor, when he vetoed a bill related to restricting abortion access.

“As your governor, the Republican Legislature sent me an invasive anti-abortion bill, one that would have forced women to pay for and undergo an ultrasound before an abortion,” Crist said. “I vetoed that bill. And next year, as your governor, I’ll veto any anti-choice legislation that comes to my desk.”

He argued that Republicans including Gov. Ron DeSantis are threatening women’s reproductive rights, and pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion suggesting its poised to overturn Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide. Crist also criticized the governor on everything from a controversial bill labeled as “Don’t Say Gay,” and an academic effort called critical race theory that has been banned from Florida’s public school classrooms.

“Today marks exactly one year since I began my campaign for governor. Since that day, the stakes of this election have only risen.

“And they just got even higher Monday night, didn’t they?” Crist said. “In an unprecedented leak, we now know the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn 50 years of abortion rights in this country.

“If the court follows through on this decision, the last line of defense will be America’s governors,” he said.

But a PolitiFact analysis reports that Crist’s stance on abortion “has changed throughout his decades in Florida politics, much like his party affiliation.” In addition, “PolitiFact found numerous instances where Crist has voiced both support and opposition to the procedure. During a gubernatorial bid in 2006, for example, Crist said he would sign a bill to outlaw abortion.”

PolitiFact is a nonprofit, fact-checking journalism website.

When Crist was a Republican governor, he vetoed legislation that would have forced pregnant women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion, according to PolitiFact.

“I think it was 2010 and the Legislature sent a bill to me that was going to require an ultrasound before a woman could make her decision about her health care and her body,” Crist said at Wednesday’s press conference. “I vetoed that. I am the only candidate in this race who as governor of Florida has stopped restrictive abortion bills by vetoing it. Nobody else has that record but me and I am very proud of it.”

Meanwhile, Crist is one of many Democrats hoping to win the nomination for governor in August to face DeSantis in his bid for reelection in 2022. Another Democratic candidate, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, has taken jabs at Crist for his record on abortion rights.

“I’m the only candidate running for governor in Florida that’s been pro-choice my whole life and never sacrificed women’s health for political gain,” Fried said on Twitter in 2021. “Think about that and tell me again who @FlaDems are going to nominate to take on and beat” DeSantis, she said.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.