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The Trojan Horse for Abortion

In all this commotion about Senate Bill 404 proposed by Senator Stargel, many have very little knowledge of what exactly this bill means to the state of Florida. HB 265/ SB 404 symbolize a slight crack in unleashing the Pandora's box of stricter abortion restrictions in Florida. Many states have enacted abortion laws in the last couple of years and now, slowly but surely, Florida is inching closer to doing the same.

Why is this the Trojan Horse?

The bill requires that girls under 18 must have their parent’s consent before having an abortion. How the law is now, a girl is required to inform her parents that she is getting an abortion, but she does not need consent to do so. The introduction of this bill raises several problems, one of which would be the constitutional violation. To clarify, the Florida Supreme Court dictated in 1989, that a similar legislature was in violation of the Florida Constitution.

The easiest way to describe the bill is calling it a Trojan Horse in Florida Politics that will eventually unleash a state-wide increase in restrictions against abortion. Instead of labeling it as an outright abortion bill, it was a smart ‘marketing’ move to present it as a parental bill. The majority of parents want to control and guide the lives of their children. Just by enacting this bill, a large population of Florida—particularly the youth—will have an immense hurdle to jump.

Things to consider about the bill

Many, including myself, have argued that a minor whose parents are either incapacitated or who have a history of negligence should not be able to prioritize their beliefs over their child’s well-being. A solution proposed by the supporters of the bill include seeking a judicial waiver to obtain an abortion without consent. In some cases, girls fear the repercussions from their parents, such as being kicked out or acting violently against them.

A key issue would be the case of victims of rape and/or incest as well as victims of human trafficking. In these situations, it would only cause further trauma to have to go through a judicial proceeding to acquire permission to have an abortion. The judicial waiver proceedings would cause the victim to relive her trauma in the hopes that the judge would grant her the abortion.

Will it pass?

It sucks to say this, but it probably will. Countless efforts have been made by a varied number of Democrats in the senate, yet none have passed. After the hearing this Thursday, it will more than likely be signed by the Governor into law. The hardest part to swallow is that this bill made it as far as it did because it was labeled as a parental consent bill protecting a parent’s right to choose if their daughter can have an abortion. To the majority, it is not an abortion-banning bill. However, this is a steppingstone to what will eventually come, which is stricter abortion laws like in the states of Georgia or Alabama. Our last hope will be if the Florida Supreme Court decides that those rights should continue to be protected by the privacy amendment to the state Constitution.

Where do we go from here?

It is a shame to see that, in this day and age, we still discuss problems that should’ve been solved years ago (and stayed that way). It is also a shame to see one of the only few female senators sponsor a bill that would limit the rights of young women in the state of Florida. We can continue to support legislation preventing unnecessary involvement by the government in a women’s right to choose. If you’re interested in preventing this bill from being passed, Planned Parenthood has released a petition with that mission in mind.