Florida House Committee passes parental consent measure,12-5

By Dave Andrusko

On Tuesday, the Florida House Health and Human Services Committee approved House Bill 265, a measure that would require parental consent before a minor girl under 18 could obtain an abortion. The vote was 12-5. As required by previous Supreme Court decisions, under HB 265, the minor girl would have the option of petitioning a judge for an exception.

Florida currently requires parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion but not parental consent.

According to Adam Bakst of WLRN-TV , the bill was written by State Rep. Erin Grall who

said that her main concern was the safety of teenagers.

“I find it hard, just overwhelmingly tragic, that a parent would not have the ability to know whether or not the facility by which their minor daughter goes to obtain an abortion was, in fact, safe,” she explained during her closing statement before the committee.

Chair Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, who voted in favor of the bill, said, “we don’t let minors under 18 enter into legal contracts in this state, part of the reason we don’t do that is they don’t have the maturity to deal with long term consequences that will bind them… yet (abortion) is a decision with long-term consequences. …That appears to be inconsistent.”

After the vote, Rep. Gralls told reporters, “(Parents are) not really part of the process with notification. It doesn’t require any conversation between parent and child.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer, “She criticized the current law as allowing notification to be done through the mail 72 hours before the procedure and claimed that means parents aren’t always given proper notice before their child undergoes an abortion.

Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate, attended the hearing and spoke in favor of Rep. Grall’s proposal. Bell, who is also president of the board of National Right to Life, told NRL News Today, “Not having parental involvement in a child’s abortion is a sex trafficker or a child rapist’s dream. The underaged girl can be aborted and sent back into the arms of her abuser.”

Bell added

“It is bizarre that young girls can have an abortion without their parents consent. In Florida a child can’t get a tattoo or her ears pierced without the parents consent. We must protect our children”

Jan G. Halisky, Vice-President for Legislative Affairs for Florida Right to Life, noted, “This vote was unusual in that the bill is now being sent directly to the House floor for a vote when the session opens in January, apparently skipping all other committees. I see this as a good sign and as a possible indication that House leadership is behind this.”