Florida Democrats purposefully delayed a bill Tuesday that would require girls under 18 to obtain a parent’s consent before having an abortion.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports pro-abortion Democrat lawmakers bogged down the process by introducing 15 new amendments to the bill at the last minute during a Senate committee meeting. Abortion activists added to the delay by signing up to testify about each one, according to the report. The move will delay a vote on the bill for about a month.
“What we’ve witnessed is delay of game,” said state Sen. Dennis Baxley, a pro-life Republican who supports the bill.
Florida currently requires that a parent be notified before a girl under age 18 has an abortion. State House Bill 265 would strengthen these protections by requiring a parent’s consent. It includes exceptions for medical emergencies as well as for situations where there is evidence that the minor may be being abused by a parent.
State Sen. Kellie Stargel, a pro-life Republican, said her bill would make abortion consistent with other parental consent requirements in the state, including for field trips, body piercings and medication provided to children at school, according to the report.
Christian Family Coalition of Florida, Susan B. Anthony List and the Florida Family Policy Council support the legislation, and Republican leaders promised that they will not let the delay destroy the bill.
“We’re going to fully vet the issue again and I will have it on the next agenda,” said State Sen. Gayle Harrell, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee. “We will have adequate time.”
Here’s more from the Orlando Sentinel:
“Passing this bill is just the first step to chipping away at Roe v. Wade,” said Michelle Stern, president of the Florida State University chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action during a press conference before the hearing.
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But supporters of the bill dispute that, claiming it’s only aimed at protecting parental rights and involving parents in the discussion of an underage girl’s decision of whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
“I’ve seen those calling this a Trojan horse; this is a parental rights issue,” Baxley said. “I can’t imagine any parent thinking they should be bypassed when they’re responsible. You cannot get a tattoo without parental consent, you can’t get your ears pierced without parental consent, you can’t go on a school trip without parental consent.”
Florida lawmakers previously passed very similar legislation, but abortion activists challenged it and the state Supreme Court struck down the law. However, many believe the new legislation has a greater chance of being upheld now that there are more conservative justices on the state high court.
Parental consent laws help protect the health and safety of minors. They can help young victims of sexual abuse who may be forced or coerced into an abortion by their abuser. The laws also help protect vulnerable teens from making a hasty, uninformed decision to abort their unborn babies – something they may later regret. And research shows that these laws help save unborn babies from abortions.
Parental involvement laws have strong public support, and 37 states currently require it in some form before a minor aborts her unborn baby. This year, however, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering pro-abortion bills to end their parental involvement laws.
Polls show strong support for parental involvement laws. A Gallup poll found 71 percent of Americans favor laws requiring parents’ involvement in a minor’s abortion decision.