Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday hosted a celebration of the four new laws intended to limit access to abortion. Dozens of pro-life activists gathered at the manion for the event, along with several of the bill's sponsors and supporters , including representatives Matt Gaetz, Rachel Burgin, Dennis Baxley, Larry Ahern, Elizabeth Porter, Kelli Stargel and Keith Perry.
Asked why he held the bill-signing ceremony a month after the laws went into effect, Scott said: "A lot of people put a lot of effort into these things. I think they want to have an event to memorialize it. For these bills, a lot of these people have worked on these bills for years and years, and it's a way for them to celebrate the accomplishments."
Lawmakers passed five abortion-related bills in the 2011 session. One requires women to receive an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion and be offered the opportunity to have it described to her. Another tightens requiremens for parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion. A third prohibits insurance policies created through the federal health care law from covering abortions, and the fourth redirects proceeds from Choose Life license plates from counties to Choose Life, Inc., which counsels pregnant women. Lawmakers also passed a bill proposing a Constitutional amendment, which doesn't require the governor's signature, that would prohibit using tax dollars to pay for abortions.
"It would be hard to top this session for the pro-life cause. We had great success," Gaetz said.
Asked what his response it to those who say the laws limit choice for women, Gov. Scott referred to the ultrasound bill, passed by a previous Legislature but vetoed by then Gov. Charlie Crist. "You should have the opportunity to see see an ultrasound of your child," Scott said. "It's your choice. You don't have to. This creates choice. I think it's very positive."