Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Will Sign Pro-Life Parental Consent Bill

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 7, 2020   |   12:13PM   |   Tallahassee, FL

A Florida bill to ensure parents are involved in their child’s decision to have an abortion has the support of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The parental consent bill passed the state Senate on Thursday, and House leaders expressed optimism about a vote soon.

“I hope that the legislature will send me this session the parental consent bill that last year was passed by the House but not by the Senate,” DeSantis said in January.

Senate Bill 404 requires 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. It also increases the penalties for not caring for an infant born alive during an abortion.

Sponsor state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who struggled through a teenage pregnancy herself, said the bill will protect young girls and 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.

But pro-abortion lawmakers claim underage girls should be able to get abortion without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and, as The Floridian reports, pro-abortion groups plan to file a lawsuit if it passes.

“I don’t think the parent should have the veto power of a child that wants to have an abortion,” said state Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat. “Unlike notification, in this bill, the parents need to sign off consent to the abortion happening, and I don’t think that any woman should have their right to control their body determined by another person.”

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About 1,500 underage girls have abortions in Florida each year, and about 200 request judicial waivers so they do not have to tell their parents, according to the Miami Herald.

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. 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.

Three decades ago, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a similar parental consent law, but pro-life lawmakers believe Stargel’s bill will be upheld, if challenged. The state high court also has a conservative majority now.