by Steven Ertelt
April 11, 2007
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida Senate committee has approved a bill to limit the number of abortions on teenagers and help their parents be involved in the decision-making process. State Sen. Ronda Storms is the sponsor of the bill, which would require judges to consider more factors before allowing a teen’s abortion without her parents knowing.
"The judges need to have the protections in their orders as to why they arrived at their conclusion," Storms told the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
The Health Regulation Committee approved the bill unanimously on an 8-0 vote, but another bill she’s sponsored didn’t get a vote in the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee before time ran out.
That measure would require abortion practitioners to take DNA samples in cases when a teen younger than 16 is pregnant and seeks an abortion because she is a victim of statutory rape.
The legislation targets the recent development many states are seeing where sexually abused teenagers get abortions and abortion centers fail to properly inform authorities about the likelihood of rape or incest.
Under the measure, abortion practitioners would be obligated to call police if they suspect a young teen has been a victim of sexual abuse.
They would asked to collect a tissue sample from the unborn child before the abortion and send it to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. State officials would then have a DNA sample to use to find and convict someone of sexual assault.
The report would have to be made within 24 hours about knowing of alleged abuse or a pregnancy resulting from it or the abortion business or medical facility in question would lose its license.
The bills received the opposition of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has provided attorneys to help teenagers get around the state’s parental notification law and obtain secret abortions without their knowledge.
Lillian Tamayo of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood opposes the DNA bill but pro-life advocates say the bill is necessary to stop sexual abusers who impregnate a young teenage girl and take her to an abortion center to cover up the crime.
The Senate Judiciary Committee must consider the judicial bill before it heads to the floor for a debate and vote.
The DNA bill will likely undergo some amendments before it is reported out of committee, according to Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican who is sponsoring a similar bill in the House. He said the age requirement would be dropped to 14 and changes would be made to make sure teens aren’t discouraged from getting medical care after they’re sexually abused.
"My primary concern is just that somebody investigate the circumstances, to file charges, for those cases that aren’t teenage love affairs but are abuse from an older person," he told the newspaper.