A Florida bill that affirms parents’ rights to be involved in their young daughter’s abortion moved forward in the state Senate on Wednesday.
The Rules Committee passed the bill in a 9-7 party line vote, moving it to the full Senate for consideration, News 4 JAX reports.
Florida Senate Bill 404, sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, would require a girl under 18 to have at least one parent’s permission before going through with an abortion. The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies and allows a judge to grant permission instead of a parent.
Stargel, who struggled through a teenage pregnancy herself, said the legislation will strengthen families.
“I think this is strengthening the family and making sure that when you have those difficult situations that there is a conversation. A discussion,” she said.
The AP reports Senate leaders plan to bring the bill up for debate next week.
Senate President Bill Galvano praised the legislation in a statement Wednesday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The infamous U.S. Supreme Court ruling forced states to legalize abortion on demand and led to 61 million abortions.
“Today, as we mark the 47th anniversary of the legalization of abortion, I am pleased to see the Senate send such a strong statement of support for protecting innocent human life,” Galvano said.
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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis also supports the bill.
Meanwhile, abortion advocacy groups are lobbying against the common-sense measure. According to The Center Square, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates criticized the legislation for requiring that a parent be involved.
“If a young person is not communicating with their guardians about their reproductive choices, there is a reason, and that reason is usually because they do not feel safe enough to do so,” spokeswoman Laura Hernandez said.
Kara Gross of American Civil Liberties Union of Florida claimed parental consent laws drive young girls to seek back alley abortions, News Service of Florida reports.
But Stargel said parental involvement is important. Earlier, she told lawmakers that she once was that pregnant teenage girl. Unmarried and afraid, Stargel said she considered having an abortion but chose life for her child instead, the Miami Herald reports.
“When I told [my mother] I wanted to have my child, she supported me,” Stargel said. “Everyone thinks that their parent is going to kill them or kick them out. I was shocked at my mother’s response as a child when I went through this.”
Parental consent laws help protect young girls. 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.
Currently, 37 states require some form of parental involvement before a minor aborts her unborn baby. Recently, however, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island considered 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.
The Florida House is considering similar legislation, and a parental consent law appears likely to pass.