Florida Just Joined 26 Other States in a Controversial Abortion Bill

Florida now requires girls age 18 and under to recieve parental consent before getting an abortion.

This is challenging Florida’s constitution, according to Kai Christmas, the regional organizer of Southeast and North Florida Planned Parenthood. 

“Florida has a very strong right to privacy, and through this amendment, it has protexted abortion access, and so this bill is challenging this privacy clause, and we expect this bill to go to Florida Supreme courts,” Christmas said. 

Christmas said Planned Parenthood has been involved with fighting this bill since it first started, and actually fought the bill in 2018 and it did not pass. However, the bill was brought back up in October, and Planned Parenthood has done multiple things to combat this bill since it was brought back up. 

“We had an event on February 4th where we had 200-250 people in the state capitol when the Senate was supposed to be voting on the bill, and we made sure the Senate heard us and they actually delayed the vote by two days,” Christmas said. “We know they heard us.”

Christmas said this bill is one step in part of a larger plan to enact stronger abortion laws in Florida. 

“This bill will have dangerous and irresponsible consequences for those young people who can’t talk to their parents about this,” he said. “This will affect young people in the foster care system, girls who can’t trust their parents who aren't home to get that consent, and it is angering that this is happening.”

The House voted 75-43 largely along party lines for the legislation that expands a current law that requires a girl's parents are notified before she can have an abortion, and the debate over this measure lasted nearly four hours, according to NBC news. 

Holly Ryan, a 24-year-old third year Ph.D. student in medical school, said she is in support of the bill that was passed.

“I think parents are responsible for the medical treatment of their children, and I think they should be informed if a minor is going to undergo something as life-changing and medically invasive as an abortion,” Ryan said. 

Ryan was the president of Gators for Life at UF this past year, and is currently the treasurer of the organization. Ryan said that although she supports the bill she says she does not think the bill should be stricter than it is because of different circumstances girls may have. 

“As I understand it, the bill does allow a young woman to petition the court if she has strong reasons not to involve her parents in the decision, and I think that is reasonable,” Ryan said. “Unfortunately, not all parents provide a loving environment for their children, and I can see why, under certain circumstances, a girl would not want their parents to know.”

Ryan says she believes that women who are getting an abortion need to be given objective counseling and made aware of all of the resources open to them. 

“I think many women go into abortions not fully understanding all of the lifelong implications of it,” she said. “I think any support that we can give them to make a better opportunity and make a more informed decision would be to their advantage.”

The bill does have a provision that will allow a girl to ask a judge for a waiver from the law in cases of abuse, incest or when involving a parent could cause more harm than allowing the procedure. However, opponents to the bill have argued this may then drive minors who are scared or ashamed to have illegal abortions. 

Florida will join 26 other states in requiring that at least one parent give written permission authorizing a doctor to terminate the pregnancy of a minor.

Christmas said although the bill was passed, Planned Parenthood is not going to stop fighting against this, and expects to see the bill move to Florida Supreme Court. 

“We will continue to be talking about forced parental consent as this fight goes on throughout the years,” Christmas said.