Florida Parental Notification Abortion Measure Will be on November Ballot

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Parental Notification Abortion Measure Will be on November Ballot

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 3, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida voters in November will have an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that would change a privacy clause to allow the state legislature to pass a bill requiring parents to be notified before an abortion can be performed on their teenage daughter.

The House voted 93-24 for final passage of the bill. The Senate last month passed the bill 27-13.

"Parents deserve the right to go and vote this November on this issue," said State Rep. Sandra Murman (R), who co-sponsored the bill with state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R). "They need to know what our children are doing."

The measure had been held up for a couple of weeks because the Senate and House had been considering two different versions of the bill. The Senate version allowed a vague exception for judges to grant abortions without parental notification in very rare cases of rape or incest. The House, which initially opposed that provision, accepted the Senate version of the bill.

The constitutional amendment comes as a reaction to two Florida Supreme Court decisions striking down parental involvement laws. In 1989, the high court struck down a pro-life measure that required teens to obtain their parents consent for an abortion. Then, last fall, the state court ruled that a parental notification law violated the privacy provision found in the state constitution.

"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 amendment reads.

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.

The pro-life provision could boost turnout of pro-life advocates and help President Bush in his bid to win the state that decided the 2000 presidential election.

Related web sites:
State House vote on the amendment –
Florida State Legislature – https://www.leg.state.fl.us
Florida Right to Life – https://www.frtl.org