Florida Governor Candidates Feud on Abortion, Right to Life Backs Them Both

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Governor Candidates Feud on Abortion, Right to Life Backs Them Both

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 4
, 2010

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The two Republican candidates for governor have been feuding for months on the issue of abortion, with each trying to extol their pro-life virtues and issues statements and research showing the other is supposedly pro-abortion. But Florida Right to Life has given both an "A" grade and recommends them to voters.

The race between Bill McCollum and Rick Scott at first blush would give McCollum, the former congressman, an edge over Scott, the former hospital executive and military veteran.

That’s merely because McCollum has a lengthy pro-life voting record from his time in the House of Representatives. He voted pro-life dozens of times and earned a 100% pro-life voting record from the National Right to Life Committee for his last two terms in office by opposing both abortion and assisted suicide.

But Rick Scott says he, too, is pro-life.

"I am pro-life. I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and as governor, would appoint judges who apply law and not impose their political agenda on the people, which was what was done in 1973 when Roe was wrongly decided," he says in an audio file on his web site.

Scott also says he disagrees with the recent decision by pro-abortion Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill that would have allowed women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before an abortion.

"As governor, I would have signed the pro-life ultrasound legislation that has passed both house of the Florida legislature and was vetoed by Charlie Crist for political reasons," he said. "This important legislation not only demonstrates that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life but also prevents Florida taxpayers from funding abortion through the federal health care plan that recently passed Congress."

But, McCollum’s campaign says it has evidence showing Scott has profited from abortions when he was CEO of Columbia/HCA.

Scott has been asked numerous times at campaign stops about what the McCollum campaign has said in ads and mailers was his failure to
stop elective abortions at his hospitals. Scott has been accused of making decisions as minute as switching the brand of soda in vending machines (from Coke to Pepsi) to save money but not ending the policy allowing abortions at his hospitals.

Scott has also come under fire for owning a chain of pharmacies in California named Pharmaca that sell the morning after pill.

Scott spokeswoman Jennifer Baker, previously responded to the charges in comments to the Florida Independent.

“HCA abided by all conscience clauses including with hospitals that had Catholic, Baptist and other religious affiliations. HCA even lost a $43 million judgment when our doctors successfully fought to save the life of a special needs child even though the parents wanted the child to die," she said. "When a company is willing to lose that amount of money to save human life its position on life issues is clear and self-evident."

Scott, in that audio file on his web site, defends his pro-life record on health care issues.

"As chairman of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, I worked with like-minded organizations in opposing abortion coverage in the ObamaCare bill," he said. "As governor, I will be an advocate for pro-life issues."

The Scott campaign responds with its own charges that McCollum "takes campaign contributions from lobbyists for Planned Parenthood yet now attacks about abortion."

"Bill McCollum’s lobbying firm took $100,000 from abortion providers. In 2001, McCollum’s firm, Baker & Hostetler, accepted $80,000 from the Federation of American Hospitals, and in 2002, FAH paid the firm another $20,000," his web site says.

But the campaign web site FactCheck.org says Scott’s campaign "mangles facts."

It says the Scott campaign "wrongly equates FAH with abortion providers. FAH is a trade group that represents hospitals. It’s not in the business of providing care; it primarily lobbies the federal government on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues."

"Furthermore, McCollum’s connection to FAH is tenuous at best. McCollum joined Baker & Hostetler as a partner in 2001. At the time FAH already had been a paying client, beginning in 1999. McCollum did not work on the FAH account, lobbying almost exclusively for the financial services industry, according to a client list provided by the McCollum campaign," it noted.

In the end, despite the allegations on both sides, it appears the state’s single issue pro-life group believes both candidates are sufficient pro-life for pro-life voters to support.

Florida Right to Life has given both Scott and McCollum an "A" rating.

"In the case of A and A+ ratings, we are recommending that a vote for any candidate with an A or A+ rating is a vote for a pro-life candidate," it says on its web site.

The rating signifies "there is more than one pro-life candidate in the race, and the candidates have returned a 100% pro-life questionnaire."

Florida Right to Life President Carrie Eisnaugle told FactCheck her group considered Scott’s claims of McCollum’s alleged connections to abortion businesses “pretty tenuous" and it apparently considers McCollum’s claims about Scott far-fetched as well given its pro-life rating for him.

Related web sites:
Florida Right to Life – https://frtl.homestead.com


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