TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Minors could soon be required to get permission from their parents to have an abortion if a bill that cleared a Senate committee Tuesday afternoon becomes law.
At the hearing, passions ran high as dozens of supporters and opponents came to speak on the bill.
“It’s a challenge to the Privacy Clause in Florida’s State Constitution, our Roe V. Wade,” said opponent Alanna Felton.
The bill would require minors to get approval from their parents before having an abortion.
Supporters like Nathaniel Wilcox said it’s about parents’ rights.
“It’s outrageous that they could sit over here and tell us what I need to do with my children,” said Wilcox.
Opponents like 2nd-year FSU Med School Student Lydia Tortorici fear it will put vulnerable children in harm’s way.
“Maybe they’re afraid of physical abuse if they reveal their pregnancy,” said Tortorici.
There is a safety valve in the bill that allows children to petition a court and bypass the parental consent requirement.
A study conducted by opponents found only 11 of the state’s 67 county courts are prepared for the judicial bypass option included in the bill.
However, bill sponsor Senator Kelli Stargel said the report is misleading.
“The premise of that study said that the child had to go to the county court in which the child resides, that is not accurate, it’s to the circuit court,” said Stargel.
The bill passed with a vote down party lines.
Supporters celebrated their first victory outside the committee room.
“The delay tactics didn’t work, persistence paid off,” said Anthony Verdugo with the Christian Family Coalition Florida.
But opponents vowed to keep fighting.
“We are having a broader cultural conversation about abortion access mattering,” said Lauren Brenzel with the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
Two more Senate committees stand in the way and passage is far from guaranteed.
The bill also needs to pass the House.
It’s been one of the first bills passed through the chamber in recent legislative sessions.