Coming on the heels of a proposal filed for a heartbeat abortion bill, another abortion bill is being floated in the state Capitol. This one involves underage females who are seeking to obtain an abortion. The bill would stipulate that the parent(s) of a minor seeking to terminate a pregnancy would need to consent to the procedure.
Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, is sponsoring the bill, HB 265, with the expectation it will be worked on and voted on during the 2020 legislative session starting in January. Abortion opponents are likely to rail against such a proposal, but a few details surrounding this shows it's not simply a lark. It has some serious potential for passage.
Not a significantly radical proposal, the bill is actually a modification to existing state law on the matter of minors seeking to end a pregnancy. Florida currently has a law that stipulates parents of a minor seeking an abortion must be notified. Grall’s bill will be making it mandatory that parents would be required to give approval first, making them active in the process.
A similar bill to this one came close to passage this past Spring. Early in the 2019 session Grall proposed a similar bill, and it did progress. Coming to a vote in the House, it passed 69-44. But it never survived the Senate. It stalled in the upper chamber and never came to a vote.
Should this version gain approval and be signed into law, it of course will not be the end of things. Challenges will assured, despite the notable lack of strident overreach with this type of bill. The change from the current statute is that abortion practitioners will be required “to obtain a notarized written consent of parent or legal guardian before inducing or performing termination of pregnancy of minor.”
Considering the significance of this type of medical procedure, it is not at all radical to think a parent or guardian should be involved in the approval process. Far less invasive procedures require that type of oversight.
Those assured legal battles, should this bill come to pass, are very likely to rise to the State Supreme Court, and that is where the intrigue will develop. Gov. Ron DeSantis has already made three court appointments since he was inaugurated, changing the balance and complexion of the highest court. Should this make it through a GOP-led Legislature, the likelihood of being upheld is in place.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.