Charlie Crist: I’m Pro Life ‘By My Definition’

Florida Dem. still claiming he hasn't flip flopped on abortion

• April 21, 2014 4:10 pm


Former Florida Republican turned Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is still shamelessly asserting he has not flip flopped on abortion.

Crist, in a Sunday interview with WPTV's Michael Williams, was challenged by the host over his abortion record. "In the heat of campaigns you were once quoted ‘Listen, I’m pro life, I’m pro gun,' on and on and on. You’ve changed your view on abortion as well," Williams said.

"That's not true. I am pro life, by my definition," Crist said before proceeding to claim he has been personally pro life but pro choice in the context of public policy throughout his career.

The problem for Crist, as Williams noted in his followup question, is that the newly christened Democrat has as a matter of record changed his view on legislative abortion restrictions. Most notably, Crist said in 2006 he would sign a bill banning all abortions except when a woman's life was in danger. 

Crist denied any inconsistency and offered a recycled anecdote about a 1993 vote against 24 hour abortion waiting periods to evidence his contention he has not flip flopped.

Facts, however, are stubborn things. The National Review's Katherine Connell reports:

During the Republican primary of the 2006 gubernatorial race, Crist chose the opposite label. "I’m pro-life. I don’t know how else to say it," he told reporters. His stance in a general-election debate against his Democratic opponent was more nuanced: "I’m pro-life on this issue, but I also understand that it’s very important to respect the views of others, and I do," he explained. "I don’t think it’s important to change the law. What I do believe is important is that we change hearts and not the law. . . . I’m pro-life and I’m proud of it, but I don’t think that I should impose my will on other people as a result of it."

In January 2010, as Marco Rubio was gaining on him in the Republican Senate primary, Crist seemed to think that laws should be changed as well as hearts. He issued a statement promising to fight "for pro-life legislative efforts" in the Senate. Five months later, he scrubbed his campaign website of all references to his support for pro-life causes and "the sanctity of life" and vetoed a bill that would have required a woman seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound and be given the opportunity to see it.

Published under: Abortion, Charlie Crist, Florida