Florida legislature on the verge of passing parental consent bill

Pro-life Gov. DeSantis has promised to sign the measure

By Dave Andrusko

Florida State Rep. Erin Grall

By all accounts, possibly as soon as today, the Florida House will join the Florida Senate in passing SB 404, a bill which would require teenagers under the age of 18 to obtain permission from their parents or legal guardian before having an abortion. 

On February 6, voting along party lines, the Senate passed the measures 23-17, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats in opposition.

Senate bill sponsor Sen. Kelli Stargel, said her legislation is “not a pro-choice or pro-life bill.” Stargel added, This is about whether or not you’re going to have adults involved in difficult decisions with children.”

House passage “would be a victory for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who urged lawmakers on the opening day of the 2020 legislative session to send a parental-consent measure to his desk,” according to the News Service of Florida. 

A similar bill passed in the House last year but died in the Senate.

As NRL News Today reported, Gov. DeSantis, in his Second State of the State address delivered last month,  said, “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.”

Democrats offered a slew of amendments—14—in  an attempted to derail the bill, or at least water it down. But pro-life House Republicans stood firm.

In 1989, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law that required parental consent.  The Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer reported that House sponsor Erin Grall said  

the new bill addressed deficiencies the court found in the old law. She pointed to the judicial waiver procedure that didn’t exist under the old law, in which a minor can seek to bypass the parental consent requirement.

Since he became governor, DeSanctis has replaced three justices on the state’s highest court— Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince—who had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. They were replaced by  Barbara Lagoa, Robert Luck, and Carlos Muniz.