Florida's parental-consent abortion bill slowed in Senate committee

'It’s disappointing we weren’t able to pass it'
Posted at 4:15 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 16:15:06-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — No vote yet. A bill requiring minors to have parental consent before getting abortions was slowed in a Senate committee, Tuesday.

Senators in Health Policy ran out of time, having to postpone voting on SB 404 likely until next month.

That’s after Democrats put up 15 amendments to modify the legislation. All were shot down.

Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) left the meeting disappointed after offering a number of them.

“This is not game playing,” she said. “This is people’s lives, reproductive health and our right to privacy.”

GOP Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) accused his colleagues on the left of “gaming the system” trying to delay the bill’s progress.

He also denied the legislation intended to act as a “Trojan horse” providing a pathway for legal challenges of abortions in the state Supreme Court, which now has three new conservative judges.

“This [bill] has its own intent,” Baxley said. “You can’t get a tattoo, get your ears pierced, go on a field trip, or get an aspirin at school without parental consent because they’re responsible and they should be a part of that.”

The bill’s companion in the House is already headed to the floor after getting through one committee assignment. A similar bill passed through that chamber last session, but failed to get through the Senate, which has been seen as a more moderate body of legislators.

Despite Tuesday’s setback, SB 404’s sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), felt optimistic the legislation would have a successful outcome in the upcoming session given that it had been introduced with more time.

“This is something to support the family and require the kids to have a conversation about something so weighty with their parents,” she said. “It’s disappointing we weren’t able to pass it today.”