Charlie Crist on Abortion


2006: I'm pro-life; 2014: That was for Republicans

Democrats across Florida heard a mysterious recorded call attacking Charlie Crist. The voice in the recording? Charlie Crist. "Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. Floridians need a consistent, conservative governor that they can trust. I would appreciate your vote on Election Day."

Not exactly your standard Democratic primary platform. But the voice in the robocall really is Crist's and so were the positions he stressed. But it was Charlie Crist circa 2006--not 2014. Back then he was running in the Republican primary for governor and paid for the calls to shore up his conservative support and push back against rival Tom Gallagher's assertion that Crist was a moderate. They certainly were never intended for Democratic voters.

A spokesman for the Crist campaign called it a "shady voter suppression tactic."

Source: Miami Herald AdWatch on 2014 Florida gubernatorial race , Aug 11, 2014

1995: Opposed mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortion

A bill came before the legislature in the spring of 1995, seeking to impose a mandatory, 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion. There was no medical justification for this, no practical reason at all--other than the desire of some abortion opponents to throw up every imaginable roadblock. When the proposal came before the Health Care Committee, I voted with the Democrats, creating a 3-3 tie and killing the legislation for that session. Abortion opponents were outraged.

Looking back, that vote took some nerve for a first term Republican, but it didn't feel huge to me at the time. While I didn't like abortion personally, I was equally opposed to government inserting itself into such a personal medical decision. I thought this should be a woman's decision--period--with whatever input she sought from her doctor, her partner, or her clergy. I was only voting my judgment and my conscience. Isn't that what legislators were supposed to do?

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 45-46 , Feb 4, 2014

Terri Schiavo's family should not be second-guessed by state

For many Republican politicians, it was easy to sign on with the extremists in the Terri Schiavo case. It was impossible to me.

On Oct. 15, 2003, with the court's approval, Terri's feeding tube was finally removed.

Terri's parents were joined by a well-organized band of anti-abortion activists. State Republicans passed "Terri's Law." As all this craziness unfolded in Florida and Washington, it seemed there was only one Republican officeholder in either place who wasn't bellowing loudly about Terri Schiavo and what she and her husband should want.

The Republican attorney general of Florida.


I thought the whole thing was an abominable circus and a cruel embarrassment. The best evidence we had said Terri would never wish to live like this. I certainly understood it. Neither would I.

I understood the passions and the politics, but I didn't think the people of Florida had elected me to second-guess a suffering family at a time like that.

Source: p. 60-63 , Feb 4, 2014

I'm pro-life, but stay out of other people's lives

Personally, I have always been pro-life. I believe life is precious and should be treasured. I like being alive. I don't think abortion is desirable. But that doesn't mean I always know what's right for everyone. Isn't that how mature people think? I've always been cautious about imposing my point of view on others when it comes to a decision as personal as this.

What's the point of that? It certainly isn't rooted in traditional conservative principles, one of which is "Stay out of other people's lives." If the thought is less government and more freedom, where's the freedom part? Seriously! Instead of trying to tell other people how to live their lives, just go and live yours!

Isn't that obvious? To me it is.

And what could be more important--or more personal--than a woman and her own body? Abortion has been legal since 1973 when the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. I understand not everyone agrees with the court's decision. Still, it is the established law of the land.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p.261 , Feb 4, 2014

Vetoed bill requiring ultrasound exams before abortions

Crist, seated to the left of both Meek and Rubio, but trying to position himself as a bridge between liberal and conservative extremes that he said are crippling Congress. Crist said he left the Republican Party this spring on principle, because the part had become "intolerant."

"The Republican Party and the right wing of that party went so far right, it's exactly why Marco Rubio stayed there, it's exactly the same reason that I left," said Crist. "He wants to overturn--listen to me, women watching-- overturn Roe vs. Wade. He does not support stem-cell research; you know, these are extreme views that I am not comfortable with."

Meek said Crist's decision was more pragmatic. "We know why the governor is running as an independent--because he couldn't beat Marco Rubio," Meek said.

As an independent candidate, Crist vetoed an education package championed by Republican legislators, along with a bill requiring women to get ultrasound exams before abortions.

Source: Ft. Myers News-Press coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate , Oct 24, 2010

Tea Party is too extreme on outlawing abortion

Crist repeatedly mocked the tea party movement while attacking Rubio, calling him an extremist for wanting to outlaw abortion. "You haven't been drinking the Kool-Aid, my friend, you've been drinking too much tea and it's just wrong," Crist told Rubio.

"I think it's always funny to listen to the governor attack me for the positions he himself held just six months ago, when he was trying to be the biggest conservative in the world and win the Republican primary," Rubio said.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Florida Senate Debate , Oct 6, 2010

Defend parental notification rights

Charlie was victorious in defending parental notification rights before the Florida Supreme Court.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.charliecrist.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Prohibit partial-birth abortion

Source: Congressional 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

Abortion is a personal decision; but ban partial-birth

Q: Would you support a constitutional amendment to ban all abortion?

A: No, I would not. I think this is a very personal decision. And I think it is a decision that a woman should make and have the right to make after consulting with her family, her physician, and her clergy. But not her government. Having said that, there's another issue that's on the table right now that deals with this sensitive area, and it's called "partial birth abortion." And I must tell you, I think it is wrong. I think it should stop. And I think that as a member of the United States Senate in January of 1999, I would vote to stop it. Unfortunately, my opponent, Bob Graham, has voted not once, not twice, but three times to continue to allow this brutal procedure to go forward. And I just don't think it's reasonable. And I think it's extreme.

Source: St. Petersburg Times debate: Bob Graham vs. Charlie Crist , Oct 19, 1998

Supports both federal abortion funding & judicial activism.

Crist supports the CC survey questions on abortion & strict interpretation

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q1 on Aug 11, 2010

Opposes prohibiting human embryonic stem cell research.

Crist opposes the CC survey question on banning stem-cell research

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Prohibiting human embryonic stem cell research". [Supporting this statement means the candidate would ban such research; opposing it means the candidate would allow such research].

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q1a on Aug 11, 2010

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Abortion: Charlie Crist on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Alexander Snitker
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson

Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2015:
AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
HI-1: Rep.-Elect Mark Takai
MA-6: Rep.-Elect Seth Moulton
MI-12:Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell
MI-14:Rep.-Elect Brenda Lawrence
NE-2: Rep.-Elect Brad Ashford(R⇒D)
NJ-12:Rep.-Elect Bonnie Coleman
NY-4: Rep.-Elect Kathleen Rice
PA-13:Rep.-Elect Brendan Boyle
VA-8: Rep.-Elect Donald Beyer
Seated in special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
FL-13:David Jolly(R)
FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12:Alma Adams(D)
NJ-1: Donald Norcross(D)
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
AR-2: Rep.-Elect French Hill
AR-4: Rep.-Elect Bruce Westerman
AL-6: Rep.-Elect Gary Palmer
CA-25:Rep.-Elect Steve Knight
CA-45:Rep.-Elect Mimi Walters
CO-4: Rep.-Elect Ken Buck
FL-26:Rep.-Elect Carlos Curbelo(D⇒R)
GA-1: Rep.-Elect Buddy Carter
GA-10:Rep.-Elect Jody Hice
GA-11:Rep.-Elect Barry Loudermilk
GA-12:Rep.-Elect Rick Allen(D⇒R)
IA-1: Rep.-Elect Rod Blum(D⇒R)
IA-3: Rep.-Elect David Young
IL-10:Rep.-Elect Robert Dold(D⇒R)
IL-12:Rep.-Elect Mike Bost(D⇒R)
More newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
LA-5: Rep.-Elect Ralph Abraham
LA-6: Rep.-Elect Garret Graves
ME-2: Rep.-Elect Bruce Poliquin(D⇒R)
MI-4: Rep.-Elect John Moolenaar
MI-8: Rep.-Elect Mike Bishop
MI-11:Rep.-Elect Dave Trott
MN-6: Rep.-Elect Tom Emmer
MT-0: Rep.-Elect Ryan Zinke
NC-6: Rep.-Elect Mark Walker
NC-7: Rep.-Elect David Rouzer(D⇒R)
NH-1: Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta(D⇒R)
NJ-3: Rep.-Elect Tom MacArthur
NV-4: Rep.-Elect Cresent Hardy(D⇒R)
NY-1: Rep.-Elect Lee Zeldin(D⇒R)
NY-21:Rep.-Elect Elise Stefanik(D⇒R)
NY-24:Rep.-Elect John Katko
OK-5: Rep.-Elect Steve Russell
PA-6: Rep.-Elect Ryan Costello
TX-4: Rep.-Elect John Ratcliffe
TX-23:Rep.-Elect Will Hurd
TX-36:Rep.-Elect Brian Babin
UT-4: Rep.-Elect Mia Love(D⇒R)
VA-10:Rep.-Elect Barbara Comstock
WA-4: Rep.-Elect Dan Newhouse
WI-6: Rep.-Elect Glenn Grothman
WV-2: Rep.-Elect Alex Mooney
WV-3: Rep.-Elect Evan Jenkins(D⇒R)
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Page last updated: Jul 25, 2015