TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Girls under the age of 18 would need to get a parent's permission before having an abortion in Florida under a bill that received its final Senate committee approval Wednesday.
The Senate Rules Committee voted 9-7 in favor of the bill Thursday, on the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Florida already has a law requiring the parents of a minor be notified before an abortion is performed, but bill sponsor Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel said it doesn't go far enough.
“I believe that parental notification is basically a child just saying, ‘This is what I’m doing,’" Stargel said. “I think that consent requires a little bit more of a conversation between the child and the parent — requires a conversation of the ramifications, the pros and the cons, and they can talk through the discussion.”
A parent or guardian would have to sign a notarized document consenting to the abortion and a doctor performing the procedure on a minor without consent would be guilty of a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Democrats argued that it was an attempt to further erode abortion rights.
“The bill continues a chipping away of women’s rights and that is something we shouldn't trample on,” said Democratic Sen. Audrey Gibson.
There is a provision in the bill that would allow a girl to receive a waiver from a judge to have an abortion without a parent's permission in cases of abuse, incest or when obtaining permission is not in the best interest of the child.
Democratic Sen. Lauren Book said she has spent much of her life trying to protect rape and incest survivors, and she called the bill dangerous.
“What we are doing here is trying to legislate a family unit,” Book said. “The judicial waiver process is one that is complicated, complex, making young girls feel afraid and nervous to engage with it, making them wait longer for more costly procedures and more invasive ones. I think our young girls deserve better.”
Republican Senate President Bill Galvano said the bill will be heard on the Senate floor next week and voted on the following week. A similar House bill is ready for a vote in that chamber, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he supports the legislation.