Inside Rick Scott’s ‘toxic record on abortion’

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By Giselle Balido

February 27, 2024

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says that Sen. Rick Scott’s record shows that if given the opportunity, he would help pass a national abortion ban, jail doctors providing care, and ban access to birth control. 

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott is coming under harsh criticism from former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell over abortion rights, ahead of the pair’s potential showdown in the November general election. 

“He would strip away women’s rights with a national abortion ban,” Mucarsel-Powell said in her campaign launch video. And in a written statement, she called out Scott for what she calls “his toxic record on abortion.” 

Scott, for his part, has been quick to fire back at Mucarsel-Powell, the likely Democratic Senate nominee in Florida.

“She lies when she says I support a national ban. She lies when she says Republicans want to put women in jail,” Scott said in an interview with The Hill responding to Mucarsel-Powell’s contentions.

RELATED: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Announces Run for US Senate Against Rick Scott

But according to the Democratic camp, records show that if given the opportunity, Scott would pass a national abortion ban that would include no exceptions for rape or incest, jail doctors providing care, and institute barriers to access essential care, as well as ban access to birth control.

Scott is working overtime to lie about his dangerous record of supporting a national abortion ban and Florida’s dangerous ban that would ban abortion with hardly any exceptions before most women know they’re pregnant,” Mucarsel-Powell said in her statement. 

To support her claims, Mucarsel-Powell points to Scott’s record on abortion and reproductive rights: 

In 2011, while serving as governor of Florida, Scott signed a lawThe Ultrasound Informed Consent Actrequiring women to undergo ultrasounds before getting an abortion. 

In 2015, Scott signed legislation requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. The law that was challenged by a women’s clinic in Gainesville but was later held up in court. 

In 2016, Scott signed a bill to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood, which would prohibit state or local health departments contracting with any organization for any health care services, if that organization also provides abortions. The bill would also limit access to contraceptives. 

In 2020, two years before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned power to the states to determine abortion restrictions, Scott was one of 51 Republican senators to vote to advance South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s 20-week abortion ban. 

Scott also co-sponsored the abortion ban that Graham reintroduced in January of 2021, which had the backing of Scott’s fellow Florida Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio. That bill would have banned abortion after 20 weeks and would have imposed prison terms of up to five years and/or fines on doctors and providers who violated this act. 

As late as April of 2023, Scott declared during an interview with The Hill: “I am 100% pro-life and if I was still governor, I would sign this [six-week-abortion ban] bill,” referring to the six-week ban Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signed into law last year.

Asked whether he would have signed a six-week abortion ban if he were governor, Scott–who served as governor of Florida from 2011 to 2019— said: “[As governor] I signed pro-life legislation, which I thought was best for the state. I’ve continued to fight for pro-life policies.” 

Most recently, in a January 2024 interview with The Hill, Scott declared himself to be “unabashedly pro-life.”

RELATED: Florida abortion rights amendment gets enough signatures for 2024 ballot

“Scott’s name is on a federal abortion ban. His bill includes criminal sentences for reproductive care providers. He confirmed he would have signed Florida’s dangerous abortion ban into law if he was governor, banning abortion before most women know they’re pregnant. He funds candidates who oppose access to contraceptive care. He minimizes the issue and calls it ‘a tough issue for women,”’ Mucarsel-Powell said in a written statement. “Floridians know exactly where he stands.”

Scott’s reelection race could play a key role in deciding control of the US Senate, and potentially the fate of abortion rights in the US.

In Florida, the Florida Supreme Court is currently deliberating on whether to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 15-week abortion ban that, if approved, would allow his six-week ban to take effect 30 days later. The court must also decide whether or not to approve the language of a ballot measure that would give Florida voters the chance to override DeSantis’ bans and enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution in November. 

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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