Florida State House Backs Parental Notification Constitutional Change
by Steven Ertelt
March 16, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday backed a constitutional amendment that would allow the state legislature to pass a law requiring parents to be notified before a teenage girl can have an abortion.
The House voted 93-25 in favor of the pro-life amendment, needed because of two state Supreme Court decisions that overturned Florida parental involvement laws on abortion.
If approved by the Senate, the amendment would appear on the November ballot for voters to consider. Should Florida voters back the pro-life amendment, the state legislature would be authorized to pass a law and the Florida Supreme Court could not use the privacy provision of the state constitution to overturn it.
The House vote came after state legislators turned by a judicial bypass provision allowing teens who are victims of abuse to seek a judge’s approval for an abortion. Legislators can look at the issue in more detail when parental notification legislation is proposed following approval of the amendment.
Rep. Sandra Murman (R-Tampa), one of the House bill sponsors, told the Orlando Sentinel that she expects the measure (HJR 1) to be approved by the Senate and, eventually, by Florida voters.
A state Senate committee approved its own version of the bill earlier this month.
The Health, Aging and Long-Term Care Committee approved the measure (CS-SJR 2178) on a 9-3 vote and sent it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bills differ in their approach. The House bill offers no specifics on how the notification is to take place while the Senate legislation says parents must be notified 48 hours in advance of the abortion.
"The legislature may by general law require notification of a parent or guardian of a minor prior to the performance of an abortion on the minor," the House version of the amendment reads.
The Senate bill also contains the rape and incest exceptions while House leaders want the parameters of a parental notification bill defined by the legislature after voters approved the constitutional amendment.
The amendment has the support of pro-life groups such as Florida Right to Life and the Florida Catholic Conference and is opposed by the ACLU, NOW and Planned Parenthood.
"Parents need to know when someone performs surgery on their daughters. Teens have experienced serious complications and death from legal abortions in Florida. Evidence shows that after parental involvement laws are put in effect, the teenage pregnancy rate goes down, the teenage abortion rate goes down, and the teenage birthrate goes down," said Robin Hoffman, President of Florida Right to Life.
ACTION: See how your state Representative voted by going to https://www.myfloridahouse.com/floor_vote.aspx?voteId=3715&Id=14592&