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Florida bill requiring parental consent for abortion advances

'You learn— you just learn'
Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 20:34:12-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A bill giving parents the final say in a minor’s choice to have an abortion is one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate Health Policy Committee advanced the legislation (SB 404) Tuesday morning after nearly two hours of debate.

While Florida law already requires a minor to notify a parent or legal guardian of abortion, the bill requires consent. Pregnant juveniles would need a waiver from the courts to get around it.

“This is not a huge departure from current law," said Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who's sponsoring the bill. "Current law has notice— there are already processes in place that handle this, we’re just making the conversation a little bit stronger.”

Supporters cheered the bill's forward movement. Many felt it was a win for parental rights in Florida.

“When we’re younger, we make vastly different decisions than when we would later in life," said Sid Bowdidge, who drove up from Summerfield to attend the meeting. "You learn— you just learn.”

Opponents called the legislation a Trojan horse, looking to erode women's rights in the state. They also feared its passage would encourage teens to break the law and seek unsafe abortions.

Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, warned there would be consequences.

“When you put young girls and women in a desperate position," she said. "Abortion gets pushed into the shadows and it becomes very, very dangerous.“

The senators voted along party lines, six Republicans in favor and three Democrats against. It faces two more committees, both with GOP majorities, before getting to the Senate floor.

A similar bill in the House has already passed through committee.