Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires consent from a parent or guardian before a minor receives an abortion.
The new law, which went into effect Wednesday, also increases the criminal penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for any doctor who doesn’t assist an infant who is born alive during an abortion. The doctor is required to transport the baby to a hospital.
The legislation passed the Florida House 75-43 and the Senate 23-17.
Florida Senate President Bill Galvano said the law was needed.
“The serious and irrevocable decision to end a pregnancy involves undergoing a significant medical procedure that results, in many cases, in lifelong emotional and physical impacts,” Galvano said. “The parents of a minor child considering an abortion must be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision."
The new law says a physician “must obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian” before “performing or inducing the termination of a pregnancy of a minor.”
The law also allows for a judicial bypass.
“For those who are in a situation of abuse or where parental consent is not in the child’s best interest, the bill provides a judicial waiver process that still involves the intervention of an adult,” Galvano said.
If the consent law is violated, the doctor – not the minor – would be prosecuted.
Florida Rep. Erin Grall called the signing of the bill “a win for Florida families.”
Today, @GovRonDeSantis signed SB 404, which requires parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion. Today is a win for Florida families. #empowerthefamily @kellistargel @SBAList @FLPolicyInsider @AbbyJohnson @FlaCathBps pic.twitter.com/Oloa2nHLTf— Erin Grall (@ErinGrall) June 30, 2020
It could be challenged in court.
“This law will put already at-risk young people in even greater danger at the worst possible time,” Stephanie Fraim, president Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement. “What’s worse, it could open the door to a reinterpretation of our constitutional right to privacy and the right to a safe and legal abortion in Florida."
Meanwhile, the new law increases the penalty for doctors who violate the state’s born-alive protections to a third-degree felony.
“This law sends a clear message that here in Florida, we will do everything we can to prevent the abomination of infanticide in our state,” Galvano said. “When a child miraculously survives this brutal medical procedure, that child’s life must be preserved and treated with great respect and care. The penalty for refusing to provide medical care to an infant struggling for life should be significant."
Florida is the sixth state to require parental notification and consent, according to Liberty Counsel.
“The parental consent laws underscore the importance that parents, not abortion doctors, have the right to direct the decisions of their minor children,” said Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver in a press release. “Parental consent laws help prevent young girls from making a hasty, uninformed decision to abort their unborn babies. There is no such thing as a safe abortion, and these laws help protect the lives of girls and unborn children.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Prostock Studio
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.