Parental consent now required for minors seeking abortions

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 11:17 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Starting Wednesday, teens under the age of 18 will need a parent’s consent is they wish to have an abortion. 

The legislation was signed Tuesday night by Governor Ron DeSantis, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling is giving pro-choice groups hope they can successfully challenge the law in court.

Minors seeking an abortion already had to notify their parents. 

Now they’ll need their permission.

“At the very least, this common sense law raises the standard [for] an abortion as is required in almost every other medical procedure,” said Ingrid Delgado with the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The new law is nearly identical to one struck down by the Florida Supreme Court three decades ago.

This time, lawmakers beefed up an avenue to bypass the consent requirement through the courts for minors who fear retaliation from their guardian.

“Things like providing counsel to indigent minors and establishing a record that can be appealed in case a waiver is denied,” said Delgado.

Pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood have likened the new law to a trojan horse, meant to test how far the newly conservative leaning state Supreme Court will allow lawmakers to restrict access to abortion.

But pro-choice advocates are hopeful a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday, striking down a Louisiana law that would have restricted abortion access, will send a clear message to those in power.

“The law was a different law. The intent was exactly the same... and what we saw the Supreme Court say was that courts and state legislatures need to stop trying to block access to essential health care like abortion,” said Stephanie Fraim, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida President.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling doesn’t directly impact Florida’s new law, nor similar laws on the books in 21 other states. 

The real test will be whether the changes to the judicial bypass option are enough to satisfy the privacy concerns that led the state supreme court to strike down the previous version of the law.

No suits have been filed against the law yet, but Planned Parenthood tells us all options are on the table.