by Steven Ertelt
August 26, 2004
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida Supreme Court has said it will hear a lawsuit against a ballot proposal to change the state constitution to allow parental notification before abortions can be performed on teenage girls.
The decision is ironic since state lawmakers voted to put the measure on the ballot to get around previous decisions by the state’s high court declaring parental involvement unconstitutional.
If approved by Florida voters in November, the ballot proposal would allow state legislators to craft a parental notification provision requiring abortion businesses to tell parents when their teenage daughter is considering an abortion.
Howard Simon, director of the Florida chapter of the ACLU, told the Associated Press he was pleased with the decision since the Florida Supreme Court didn’t have to take the case.
The Florida high court has twice ruled that parental notification laws passed by the legislature run afoul of the privacy clause in the state’s constitution.
Abortion advocates claim the ballot language is too vague and the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to prevent Florida voters from evaluating it in November.
A local judge disagreed, but the pro-abortion groups appealed to the state appeals court. That court asked the Florida Supreme Court to decide the matter.
"I conclude that the proposed ballot title and summary adequately inform that the amendment expands legislative power and adequately describes the nature and extent of that expansion," Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjostrom wrote in his decision.
Pro-life groups say that it is essential for parents to be involved in helping their daughters make good decisions when pregnant.
"Parents need to know when someone performs surgery on their daughters," says Robin Hoffman, President of Florida Right to Life.
"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," Hoffman explained.
"In Florida, if your daughter is under 18, she cannot get a tattoo, get an aspirin at school or go on a school trip without you knowing it," Hoffman told LifeNews.com. "But your underage daughter can get a surgical abortion without you knowing it."