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Abortion parental consent backed in House

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state Capitol was a battleground for abortion restrictions Wednesday. 

A pro-life rally took place outside the Capitol while a bill, requiring a young woman to have her parents consent for an abortion, was coming up for a hearing inside.

Following testimony from numerous activists on both sides of the issue, a House panel on Wednesday advanced a proposal that would require minors to receive parental consent before getting abortions.

After the vote by the House Judiciary Committee, the bill (HB 1335) will have to clear one more committee before it can go to the House floor. The Senate version (SB 1774), however, has not been heard in committees as the 2019 legislative session reached its halfway point Wednesday.

State law currently requires parent to be notified if their daughters are having abortions. But the House proposal would go further by requiring parental consent. The bill includes exemptions for situations such as minors who have health emergencies or who already have children.

"This is not a woman issue alone. This is a societal issue," House sponsor Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, said. "We are also talking about the right of the fathers as well as the impact they have on their daughters’ decision-making."

Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, backed Grall and pleaded with members in the House panel that if they believe in God they will support the bill.

Grall also said arguments against her bill are fostering a "culture of hiding" that is not beneficial to children and families.

If lawmakers ultimately pass the bill, it could face constitutional challenges.

The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that Florida's constitutional right to privacy "is clearly implicated in a woman's decision whether or not to continue her pregnancy," according to the bill's staff analysis. The state Supreme Court also struck down a parental-consent law in 1989.