Controversial abortion bill headed to Crist
Published: Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 30, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE - The House, after hours of contentious and angry debate, approved a bill Friday to require women to have an ultrasound before getting a first trimester abortion.
The bill was approved 76-44 and sent to the governor.
It was not known if Gov. Charlie Crist would sign or veto the bill.
Rep. Richard Steinberg, a Democrat representing Miami, said, "I ask Gov. Crist, please listen to the people and veto this bill."
There was passionate debate Friday on both sides of the issue, including three hours on the amendment requiring the ultrasound exam.
Rep. Janet Long, a Democrat from Pinellas County, opposed the measure, saying, "This is governmental intrusion in the most personal decision. Stand down if you don't have ovaries."
Rep. Betty Reed, a Democrat from Hillsborough County, said the ultrasound exam is an invasive procedure that should not be imposed on women.
"It is not right. It is not fair. It is not what we should be here doing," Reed said.
House Speaker Larry Cretul stepped in when Rep. Alan Hays, a Republican from Umatilla, likened abortion to the Holocaust.
"Everyone is aghast and embarrassed" about the Holocaust, in which at least 5 million Jews were killed, Hays said. "What are we going to say as a society about the killing of more than 50 million?" he asked.
Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, a Democrat representing Manatee and Sarasota counties, said, "This is an unconstitutional law."
H. Marlene O'Toole, a Republican who represents part of Marion County, supported the amendment.
She said the bill is a decision to help women "be medically safe," using "technology to view, discuss and decide what to do with your family doctor."
Rep. Anitere Flores, a Republican from Miami, also supported the bill.
"We are not chattel or meat. Giving me information does not make me a piece of meat," she said.