A bill requiring minors to obtain parental consent for abortions is set for a vote in Florida’s House. As it currently stands, the law merely requires parental notification 48 hours before the procedure. But, HB 265 would necessitate notarized consent from a parent or guardian, excluding cases of medical emergency or if the minor is already a parent. After passing through the House Health and Human Services Committee through a 12-6 vote, the next step is for the bill to be debated on the House floor. While supporters of HB 265 are optimistic about its passage there, obtaining Senate approval may prove to be a challenge.
Rep. Erin Grall – the bill’s main sponsor – stated that she finds it “overwhelmingly tragic that a parent would not have the ability to know whether or not the facility their minor daughter goes to obtain an abortion was in fact safe.” Grall explained that under current laws, a parent may be notified about an abortion 72 hours before the procedure, and through the mail. This leaves parents with very little time to be sufficiently informed.
Opponents of HB 265 have cited a “right to privacy” in Florida’s constitution, declaring a similar law had already been deemed unconstitutional in 1989. However, a 2003 parental notification law was later passed via constitutional amendment. John Stemberger – president of Family Policy Council – is a supporter of the bill, and he pointed out that Florida courts often misapply constitutional privacy rights in abortion cases.
Addressing the bills detractors, Rep. Ray Rodrigues spoke about how children at his son’s school cannot even be given aspirin by another adult. As a parent, Rodrigues is physically required to appear and authorize the medication’s use.
But that same child can have a surgery by another adult without the parent knowing about it. Can anyone not see the inconsistency in that?
Pro-choice activists have rallied against the bill, decrying it as “a fundamental assault on abortion rights in Florida.”