Florida Parental Notification Abortion Law Constitutional, Federal Judge Rules

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Parental Notification Abortion Law Constitutional, Federal Judge Rules Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 13, 2006

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Federal judge has turned back a request from the Planned Parenthood abortion business to stop enforcement of a parental notification law that requires it and other abortion centers to let the parents of a minor teen know when she’s thinking of having an abortion.

"Florida has carefully crafted a parental notification statute that serves a compelling state interest," Stafford said, according to an AP report.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Stafford cites the Supreme Court’s recent decision in a case about a New Hampshire law as saying the court doesn’t think there is a basis for overturning such laws wholesale.

He noted the Supreme Court wrote that states have a right to require parental notification due to their "strong and legitimate interest in the welfare" of minor teens who need parental help in an unplanned pregnancy.

The law took effect on June 30 after Stafford refused to grant Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction while the case progressed.

Stephanie Grutman, director of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, told the Associated Press the abortion centers have not decided whether to appeal the decision.

"We were disappointed today that the court did nothing to" invalidate the law, she said.

In a statement issued by the office of Attorney General Charlie Crist, he said the ruling backs up the strong 65-35 percent vote from Florida voters who approved a state constitutional amendment allowing parental notification.

"If parents must be notified when their children have their tonsils removed, they should be notified in this situation as well," Crist said.

One issue that Judge Stafford did not decide has to do with whether the law is an "undue burden" on girls seeking abortions by dividing the state into five judicial districts and requiring a parental notification waiver to come from within the district in which the girl lives.

The frequency of judges in Florida to grant teenagers permission to have abortions and avoid the state’s parental notification law has pro-life advocates concerned.

One state lawmakers plans legislation to tighten up the legal requirements for the judicial bypass.

More than 120 teenagers have appeared before judges in the last six months with a request to have an abortion without telling their parents. In most of the cases, the secret abortion is approved.

The judicial bypass provision was included in the bill to protect teens who are victims of abuse. But abortion advocates are exploiting the provision and hiring attorneys and legal experts to help teens in positive family situations obtain secret abortions.