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Florida Senate passed parental consent bill, goes to the House next week

by | Feb 7, 2020

Governor has promised to sign the measure

By Dave Andrusko

Florida State Sen. Kelli Stargel

A bill requiring that a minor girl in Florida obtain parental permission before having an abortion is very near enactment.

On Thursday the Florida Senate voted 23-17 in support SB 404. The measure moves to the House next week where quick passage is expected. 

Last month, in his annual State of the State address, pro-life Gov. Ron DeSantis challenged the Senate to pass the bill off the floor this year.

“I hope that the Legislature will send me this session the parental consent bill that last year was passed by the House but not by the Senate,” he said.

Another component of the law received much less attention. It would require health care workers attempt to attempt to save the life of an infant born alive during a “failed” abortion and transport the baby to a hospital. Bobby Caina Calvan of the Associated Press reported, in reference to sponsor Sen. Kelli Stargel, “Stargel’s bill also makes not caring for an infant born alive during an abortion punishable as a third-degree felony, rather than a first-degree misdemeanor, as state law currently maintains.”

“This legislation returns common sense to the family concerning abortion and who should be involved in this very serious and deadly decision,” said Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life. “It boggles the mind that a young girl can’t get a tattoo, or her ears pierced in Florida without parental consent, but she can get an abortion! She can’t leave the school campus without permission, but she can get an abortion, she can’t get an aspirin from a school clinic without a parent’s permission, but she can get an abortion!!”

According to Courthouse News, SB 404  prohibits the abortionist “from performing an abortion on a minor unless he or she receives a notarized, written statement from the child’s mother, father or legal guardian. The legislation allows for exceptions in a medical emergency. The child can also ask a judge for a waiver to the parental consent requirement.”

To those critics who charged the bill would face a legal challenge, Senate President Bill Galvano told reporters after the vote, “If I believe that we were putting something forward that would not withstand a court challenge, we would go back and rethink it. I’m confident that this legislation will move forward and be successfully upheld.” He added, “This was a big issue, is an important issue and one that I’m glad to see on its way to the Florida House.”

“This is not a pro-choice, pro-life bill,” said Stargel. Alex Pickett  quoted Stargel saying, “This bill is about protecting minors who are pregnant,” adding “These young women need their parents’ guidance, and parents have a fundamental right to provide that guidance.

In 1989, the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s  1979 parental consent law on the grounds that it violated a “right to privacy” in the state Constitution. However, since he became governor, DeSanctis has replaced three justices on the state’s highest court— Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince—who had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. They were replaced by Barbara Lagoa, Robert Luck, and Carlos Muniz.

Categories: Legislation
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