Florida Parental Notification on Abortion Gets State Supreme Court Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Parental Notification on Abortion Gets State Supreme Court Hearing Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 10, 2006

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida law requiring abortion practitioners to tell parents about a minor teen’s decision to have an abortion had a hearing on Thursday at the Florida Supreme Court. There, Planned Parenthood attorneys sought to expand their ability to push minors into getting judicial waivers, leaving parents in the dark about the abortion.

Planned Parenthood lawyer Galen Sherwin told the state high court that the abortion business should be allowed to direct teens to any juvenile court to get a judicial bypass abortion.

The law, which allows the bypass only in cases of parental abuse, requires teens to go to a court in the jurisdiction that includes where they live.

Pro-life groups say the expansion would allow abortion businesses to go "judge shopping" by taking bypass cases to courts with pro-abortion judges more likely to approve them.

Still, Sherwin told the judges about the home court requirement: "It’s sort of a half measure, but it doesn’t actually accomplish anything."

"The state hasn’t shown any justification for it or shown any indication that it believes that it was intended to prevent any particular evil," she claimed, according to an Orlando Sentinal report.

Even without the expansion, abortion businesses are helping many teenagers avoid the law.

According to the Orlando newspaper, in the first six months since the law took effect June 30, 149 of 162 teens were able to avoid telling their parents about the abortion.

That has prompted Rep. John Stargel to file a measure, HB 1527, that would mov the judicial waiver process to the judicial circuit system rather than the appellate district. The hope is that judges in circuit courts would be less likely to approve the waivers.

In a previous hearing U.S. District Judge William Stafford rejected Planned Parenthood’s arguments that the parental notification law was vague and should be thrown out entirely. He wanted the high court to review the judicial forums and reserved his final ruling until after the Supreme Court decides that aspect of the case.

"Florida has carefully crafted a parental notification statute that serves a compelling state interest," Stafford said in his initial comments.

Stafford cited 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.

Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing parental notification by a 65 to 35 percentage vote.

Attorney General Charlie Crist said the law should be upheld.

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