TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News) – Florida law already requires parents to be notified at least 48 hours before a minor has an abortion, but parents may soon have to consent in writing.
The Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 404 on Thursday. If it becomes law, physicians will need written, notarized authorization from a parent or guardian to perform an abortion on someone under 18.
“I did not want to tell my mother that I was pregnant,” Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) said.
Stargel is sponsoring the bill. Her voice cracked Thursday when she recounted talking with her mother as a pregnant 17-year-old as the bill was debated on the Senate floor.
“But I am so glad I did,” Stargel added.
Former high school principal Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) said he’s seen the fear in a pregnant teen’s eyes more than once.
“There are just some parents who simply cannot or will not make good decisions for their own children,” Montford said.
But Republicans countered that parental permission is required for some of the simplest things.
“We said it’s in the best interests of children not to get a tattoo on your own,” Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) said.
The bill passed 23-17, strictly down party lines.
Democratic St. Petersburg Sen. Darryl Rousson said he voted no because he didn’t want to see a teen forced to carry an unwanted child.
“If I’m going to commit error, I want to commit error on the side of a woman being able to choose whether she carries to full term,” Rouson said.
The legislation does allow pregnant teens who can’t talk to their parents to seek approval for an abortion from a judge.
“Whether its a bad grade or broke a window with a baseball, you don’t want to talk to your parents, but its a conversation that has to be had,” said Stargel.
The House voted for the bill last year. It’s expected to come back up in the next couple of weeks.
Similar legislation was declared unconstitutional 30 years ago, but appeals to a new conservative court after House passage are likely.
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