Charlie Crist blames Gov. Ron DeSantis for the case of a middle school-aged incest survivor who was forced to leave Florida to obtain an abortion.
In a new digital ad, released Thursday, DeSantis’ Democratic challenger is continuing to pummel the Republican Governor for signing a bill that bans abortions after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. Crist has made abortion central to his General Election campaign, and the recent incident has given Democrats a real-life example of what to expect in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The minute-long ad begins with video and audio from news reports and interviews on the story, first reported by BuzzFeed News. It then shows a news clip of DeSantis signing the bill.
The ad then closes with an unspoken statement the Crist campaign says comes directly from the candidate.
“This is Florida under Ron DeSantis, children forced to give birth to children,” reads the ad. “Ron DeSantis shouldn’t make abortion decisions. Women and doctors should.”
Abortion emerged as a hot-button issue this summer after the Supreme Court delivered its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in June. Democrats jumped in the polls and the ballot box while, in Kansas, voters rejected an anti-abortion measure. Women have also registered to vote in staggering margins over men, particularly in states where abortion is on the ballot in reality or in practice.
But as abortion fades after their summer surge, being replaced with issues like the economy, immigration, and — in Florida — property insurance, Democrats like Crist hope to regain momentum with 19 days until Election Day. Crist will undoubtedly hammer DeSantis on abortion when the pair take the debate stage for the only time on Monday.
While DeSantis hasn’t announced his plans openly, Crist and Democrats say the Governor will usher in more abortion restrictions now that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“Behind closed doors, Gov. DeSantis is plotting to take away any remaining freedom Florida women have to make their own decisions about abortion,” Crist said in a statement Thursday. “We know where that leads: tragic stories like that of the middle school-aged incest survivor forced to leave the state to seek care will become more and more common. It’s barbaric.”
Florida’s 15-week law is on its way to the Florida Supreme Court, made up of six conservative Justices and one moderate Justice. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution contains an explicit right to privacy. But the state Court could change the limits to abortion restrictions, and Crist says his veto pen would halt abortion bans from the Republican-controlled Legislature.
“This November, we’re fighting for our sisters, friends, and loved ones,” Crist said. “We’re fighting like our lives depend on it — because in this election, they do.”
Recent polls have shown DeSantis with a lead of 5 percentage points or more. He also outshines Crist, a recent Democratic Congressman and former Republican Governor, in the money race.
This is Florida under Ron DeSantis: Children forced to give birth to children. pic.twitter.com/sCx3es1mmQ
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) October 20, 2022