Florida Parental Notification for Abortion Measure Targeted by Lawsuit

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Parental Notification for Abortion Measure Targeted by Lawsuit Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 10, 2005

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Florida asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a measure passed overwhelmingly by Florida residents on the November ballot that would make sure abortion businesses tell parents when their teenage daughter is considering an abortion.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood say the constitutional amendment voters approved should be thrown out because the state’s high court overstepped its authority when it dismissed a lawsuit both groups previously filed saying the language of the amendment was improper.

Two months before the election, the court ruled the ballot language could be used. In December, the court was expected to issue a written opinion explaining its decision, but did not do so.

In the suit, the pro-abortion groups asked the court to reconsider its decision.

"Without explanation, the remedy … represents a departure from well-established law that cannot be justified and should not be sustained," the lawsuit argues.

Larry Spalding, a Tallahassee attorney for the ACLU, told the Associated Press that, if the court refuses to reverse itself, it will lobby the legislature on the issue.

Pro-life groups worry that means they will favor a weak law that will allow virtually any adult to be notified about a teen’s abortion request, rather than only her parents.

The amendment was necessary because the Florida Supreme Court twice before overturned parental notification laws passed by the state legislature. The court claimed they violated a privacy provision in the state constitution.

Florida voters backed the constitutional amendment in November by a 65-35 margin.

Similar laws in other states have reduced the number of abortions on teenagers by as much as one-third.
Pro-life groups say that it is essential for parents to be involved in helping their daughters make good decisions when pregnant.

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.