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Battleground Florida: Abortion rights group says new parental consent law harms vulnerable girls

Politics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s new law requiring parental consent before a minor can have an abortion will disproportionately harm vulnerable girls, including minorities and lower-income girls, according to a spokesperson for a pro-abortion rights group.

Sunday morning on 8 On Your Side’s weekly political show Battleground Florida, Amy Weintraub of Progress Florida said more than 90% of Florida teenagers already involve their parents when they are seeking abortion care.

“This new law isn’t going to affect those teens,” Weintraub said. “This law will impact the teenagers who need access the most, who don’t have that strong family, who may come from a family of dysfunction, where the parent is in prison or abusive. Those are the people who are often from communities of color or very low-income families.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 404 into law on Tuesday. The legislation was sponsored by Florida Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland).

The new law prohibits performing an abortion on a minor unless the physician has received a notarized, written consent statement with specified language signed by the minor’s parent or legal guardian, who has provided proof of identification.

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) said the law provides an exception to girls who may not be able to obtain consent.

“For those who are in a situation of abuse or where parental consent is not in the child’s best interest, the bill provides a judicial waiver process that still involves the intervention of an adult,” said Galvano.

Weintraub said that process is onerous, and that the law violates those girls’ rights.

“Going through a court process is something many teenagers would be very intimidated about tackling on their own,” Weintraub said. “It requires multiple visits to your local courthouse. It means you have to interface with attorneys, court clerks, judges. That’s not something most Florida teenagers are used to or would want to try out.”

Progress Florida is part of the coalition Floridians for Reproductive Freedom. Weintraub said the group has tracked teens going through the judicial waiver process, and last year it was “fewer than 200.”

They have developed a new website to help teenagers navigate the waiver process if they do want to have an abortion.

Florida’s new law also increases the penalty from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony for any health care practitioner who violates current law requiring them to preserve the health and life of a newborn baby who is born alive during an attempted abortion.

Watch 8 On Your Side’s weekly political show Battleground Florida with host Evan Donovan every Sunday morning at 9:30, right before Meet the Press.

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