Parental consent abortion law proposed

An examination room is seen at a women's reproductive health center that provides abortions in a city in South Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Nearly 30 years after the Florida Supreme Court struck down a similar law, a Senate Republican has proposed a measure that would require minors (those under the age of 18) to receive the consent of their parents or guardians before having abortions.

Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed the proposal (SB 1774) for consideration during the legislative session that starts Tuesday. The bill, filed Friday, would be more restrictive than a current law requiring minors to notify parents or guardians before having abortions.

The proposal would allow minors to go to court to try to avoid having to obtain consent from parents or guardians. Judges could approve such requests if they find, “by clear and convincing evidence, that the minor is sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy,” according to the bill.

Judges also could approve such requests in circumstances such as minors being victims of child abuse or sexual abuse inflicted by parents or guardians. Parental consent has long been a controversial --- and heavily litigated --- issue in the debate over abortion restrictions.

The Florida Supreme Court in late 1989 struck down a parental-consent law, finding that it violated state constitutional privacy rights. The Supreme Court in 2003 also struck down a parental-notification law. But voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that cleared the way for lawmakers to pass a new notification law.


Information provided by The News Service of Florida.