Florida Gov. DeSantis signs law requiring parental consent for abortion

Woman holds ultrasound images
Woman holds ultrasound images | Getty Images/Westend61

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law requiring parental consent before an abortion can be performed on an underage girl. 

While the governor did not make a public statement about the new law, it's proponents, such as Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, lauded the measure, stressing that parents have the right to know that their child is pregnant and considering an abortion, Fox13 in Tallahassee reports. 

“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 in a statement.

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“The parents of a minor child considering an abortion must be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision,” he added. 

The Republican-majority state legislature has, in recent years, passed several bills regulating abortion. In 2015, Florida passed a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, but that law is being challenged and has not gone into effect.

In 2004, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring parental notification before their child has an abortion. The recently passed law goes even further by requiring parental consent.

The parental-notification law contained within it a process whereby minors are allowed to go to court to avoid notifying their parents about obtaining an abortion — referred to as a “judicial bypass” — a feature that is also part of the consent measure.

Galvano said Tuesday that 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.”

Abortion rights groups are decrying the new law.

“This law will put already at-risk young people in even greater danger at the worst possible time,” Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement.

The new law regulating abortion comes on the heels of a significant setback at the Supreme Court for the pro-life movement in the case of June Medical Services v. Russo, which concerned a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals in cases where their patient suffers and emergency. This is a standard requirement that also pertains to doctors who work at ambulatory surgical centers.

In a 5-4 decision earlier this week, the high court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The court's four Democratic appointees, along with Chief Justice Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, voted against the Louisiana law, with Roberts citing a recent Supreme Court precedent in 2016. The Supreme Court similarly ruled in that case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, striking down a similar law in Texas, though Roberts voted in support of the Texas law.

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