TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Thursday, new abortion restrictions cleared a big hurdle in the legislature.
The Florida Senate approved the controversial legislation and if House members back the bill, which they’re expected to, minors will need a parent’s approval before getting an abortion. It's an upgrade from current law only requiring notification.
The 23-17 party-line vote for Senate Bill 404 came after more than an hour of back and forth debate amongst Republican supporters and Democratic opponents.
Parents advocating for passage hailed the bill's advancement as a win for their rights.
Lupe Wheeler, who watched the vote from the Senate gallery, said she couldn't give her teen aspirin in school without signing a release. She felt something as weighty as abortion needed her oversight
“Why would I want my child to go through something so life-changing, so life-altering without me there,” said Wheeler.
Those opposed to the bill left the chamber feeling defeated, unable to sway enough support from the GOP majority to amend or halt the measure.
“It’s an unfortunate day," said Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. "We continue to chip away at a woman’s right to choose and have autonomy over her body.”
Following the vote, Senate President Galvano said he was confident the legislation would meet muster if brought to court over privacy concerns. It's a challenge many consider certain.
“If I believed we were putting something forward that would not withstand a court challenge we would go back and rethink it," the Republican said. "I am confident this legislation will move forward and be successfully upheld."
The House has yet to bring their version of the bill to the floor for a vote.
Speaker Oliva said Wednesday it’s only a matter of time before his chamber votes to approve, almost guaranteeing Florida will join at least 21 other states requiring minors have parental consent.
The House vote won’t happen until at least next week.