Florida Governor Bush Signs Abortion Notification Measure
by Steven Ertelt
May 26, 2005
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Wednesday signed a measure requiring abortion practitioners to tell the parents of a teenager girl when their daughter is considering an abortion. The measure was authorized by Florida voters who overwhelmingly approved a parental notification ballot initiative.
"This not only ensures the safety of our children, but also strengthens the family unit by maintaining open dialogue between parent and child," Bush said about the bill.
Bush signed a similar law in 1999, but the Florida Supreme Court used the privacy clause in the state constitution to declare it unconstitutional. The amendment Florida voters backed 65-35 changed the privacy clause to allow for parental notification.
Unless in a medical emergency or cases of abuse, abortion practitioners must notify a parent about a teen’s potential abortion 48 hours ahead of time in person or by phone. If that’s not possible, a certified letter must be sent 72 hours in advance.
Sheila Hopkins, of the Florida Catholic Conference, told the Associated Press she was happy about Bush’s signature on the bill.
"Certainly this is a boon for parents who are concerned about the medical consequences that would happen if their children do seek an abortion," Hopkins said.
Planned Parenthood opposed the measure, but has not indicated if it will bring a lawsuit against it.
Similar laws in other states have reduced the number of teen abortions by about 30 percent.
Girls who are in abuse situations can use a judicial bypass to receive approval for an abortion. That’s mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has said it will review a New Hampshire parental notification in October.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, twenty-four other states have parental involvement laws in effect and ten others have laws but they are not being enforced.
Eileen Roberts, the founder of an organization that helps parents whose children have abortion, knows firsthand what it’s like to pick up the pieces of her daughter’s life after a secret abortion.
"If parents are responsible for their daughter’s physical and emotional consequences after the abortion, then they should have the right to know before such a life and death decision is made alone by their minor aged daughter," Roberts explained.
"This law allows parents to put their arms around their daughters and say ‘we love you, we can work this out together,’" Roberts said.
Roberts’ daughter underwent an abortion in 1987 at the age of 14. Her daughter suffered physical and emotional consequences from a botched legal in Virginia. Roberts and her husband were forced to spend $27,000 to provide medical care for her.
"Parents need to know when someone performs surgery on their daughters," adds Robin Hoffman, President of Florida Right to Life.