by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2007
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Leading pro-life advocates in Florida say they’re supporting a bill there that would tighten the state’s parental notification law to make sure that fewer abortions are done on teenagers without their parents knowing. The current law allows for a waiver in abuse cases but it is being used too often to approve secret abortions.
Sen. Ronda Storms, a Brandon Republican, filed a Senate bill last month that would narrow the restrictions on when a minor can get an abortion.
Under her measure, judges would have to take into account more factors or criteria the teenager would have to meet to get the abortion. Those include the child’s credibility, emotional stability and "ability to understand and explain the medical consequences of terminating her pregnancy."
That’s good news to pro-life advocates, who point to figures from the Florida Office of the State Court Administrator showing 557 requests for abortion waivers filed in 2006. Of those, about 94 percent were granted.
Sheila Hopkins, who helps head up the pro-life outreach for the Florida Catholic Conference, supports the bill and says it will help teenagers avoid abortions that can hurt them physically and emotionally.
“We know that abortion leads to depression, substance abuse and other kinds of risky behavior,” she told the Florida Catholic newspaper. “Those are the ways that girls deal with the pain of having destroyed their babies.”
Hopkins also supports the proposal because it would allow the appointment of a guardian ad litem for the teenage girl when she goes to court to seek a waiver. The guardian would be more likely to have her best interests at heart rather than a pro-abortion attorney more focus on getting her through the court system.
“An attorney is interested in legal issues, but isn’t necessarily helping the girl look at things from a life perspective,” Hopkins told the newspaper. “Helping her to consider the physical and psychological consequences of an abortion — that would be the job of the guardian ad litem.”
“It seems odd that it’s become an industry for abortion providers to train lawyers to help girls get bypasses,” she added.
Joan Crown, respect life director for the Archdiocese of Miami, told the Florida Catholic that many teenagers who get abortions later regret the decision.
“We have girls who come for post-abortion counseling who are trying to overcome the psychological effects of abortion,” she said. “Often they resent their parents because they felt they could not talk to their parents about their pregnancy.”
“They’ll say, ‘Oh my dad will kill me’ and I ask ‘When was the last time he committed homicide?’” she said.
Florida law requires that abortion facilities tell a teen’s parents she is considering having an abortion before it can be done. That came after voters approved a state ballot proposal with the requirement 65-35 percent.