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Florida Senate panel poised to revisit parental consent

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After running out of time during a meeting last month, the Senate Health Policy Committee next week will again take up a controversial proposal that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions.

The committee is scheduled to consider the bill (SB 404), sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, during a meeting Dec. 10, according to a Senate calendar published Monday.

Florida law already requires parents to be notified if their daughters are planning to have abortions.

The law also provides for a judicial waiver process that allows pregnant teenagers to circumvent the notification requirement. But the bill would go further by requiring parental consent, rather than notification.

Similar to the current notification requirement, the bill would allow exemptions for teens who already are parents or are in medical emergencies.

The full House is prepared to take up its version of the parental-consent bill (HB 265) after the 2020 legislative session starts Jan. 14.

The Senate Health Policy Committee spent 90 minutes on the issue during a Nov. 12 meeting, but Democrats on the panel proposed 15 amendments.

While the amendments were defeated in party-line votes, the Republican-controlled committee considered all of them, which led to the time crunch.