by Steven Ertelt
March 23, 2006
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida state House committee has approved a measure that would tighten language in the state’s parental notification law. The bill is designed to prevent abortion advocates from "judge shopping" to find sympathetic courts that will routinely approve waivers for teens not in abuse situations.
Like parental involvement laws in most other states, Florida’s includes a Supreme Court requirement that teens in abusive home situations be allowed to bypass the provisions of the law and have an abortion without their parents’ knowledge.
However, abortion businesses have found ways around the law by finding pro-abortion judges willing to certify most any abortion.
The House Civil Justice Committee approved a bill from Rep. John Stargel to tighten the requirements and make "judge shopping" less likely to occur.
Under current law, pro-abortion lawyers can take girls to any one of the district courts of appeal regions in the state just 48 hours before the abortion.
Stargel’s bill would lengthen the time judges have to consider the request to five days require teens to go to courts closer to where their live and add a requirement that parents be notified if a judge allows an abortion because of a medical emergency.
The bill also requires judges to consider other factors before approving the bypass, such as the teen’s ”emotional stability, credibility and demeanor," her ability to be responsible, and her ability to ”explain the medical consequence of the abortion.”
The court would also be required to determine if there is any pressure on her to have an abortion from a boyfriend or the parents of a boyfriend, for example.
”What’s happening here is that certain groups know which judges are going to get the opinion in certain courts and they’re getting a rubber stamp,” Stargel told the Miami Herald.
Last year, courts approved 184 of the 201 requests for a bypass.
The Florida ACLU and Planned Parenthood both oppose the bill. They claim the additional restrictions are unconstitutional and threatened to file a lawsuit to overturn the measure if it becomes law.
”If this bill is enacted, I would have no hesitation to recommend a challenge,” Larry Spalding, legislative counsel for the ACLU, told the Herald.
Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court held a hearing where 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.
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 voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing parental notification by a 65 to 35 percentage vote.
Stargel’s bill is HB 1527.