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Parental Abortion Consent Bill Passes In Florida House Committee

The Florida House Health and Human Services Committee approved the parental consent bill on Tuesday. MICHAEL RIVERA
The Florida House Health and Human Services Committee approved the parental consent bill on Tuesday. MICHAEL RIVERA

A Florida House committee passed a bill Tuesday requiring a minor to receive parental permission before getting an abortion.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill by a 12-6 vote.

House Bill 265  was written by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. The bill says that a female under the age of 18 years old would need the consent of a parent/legal guardian or a waiver from a Florida judge if she wants to have an abortion.

Grall 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.”

But some committee members and other legislators spoke out against the bill.

“I’m happy for those individuals who have children, and (the children) are very respectful to you and can feel like they need to come to talk to you…but a lot of children are not raised in households like this,” said Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, who voted against the proposal.

“Instead of having this conversation, we should be talking about health education…I’m asking that we change our conversation,” added Jones.

One representative not on the committee who has also spoken out against the bill is Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando. Prior to the public hearing, Eskamani, along with other legislators and community members, protested in the state Capitol.

“The reality is that this law, which we debated last session as well, has been shown to put the most at risk youth in greater danger,” Eskamani said. “But the truth is if this bill becomes law, access to safer abortion for every Floridian is at risk.”

The bill, which is expected to move quickly through the House, will be considered during the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January.

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