Parental consent for abortion now law
–Third degree felony for physicians

By Tami Stevenson

With a vote of 75 to 43 by legislatures and Governor Ron DeSantis signing the bill into law, June 30, 2020, Florida pro-life supporters have won a major battle that has gone on for years.

In the SB 404 summary, it states that the Parental Notice of and Consent for Abortion Act prohibits a physician from performing an abortion on a minor unless the physician has received a notarized, written consent statement with specified language signed by the minor’s mother, father, or legal guardian and the physician has been presented with proof of identification by the parent or legal guardian.

According to the Palm Beach Post, House sponsor, Representative Erin Grall, rebutted pro-abortion assertions that “...it is unfair for male-dominated legislative bodies to impose laws on women and girls.”

Lynda Bell, President of Florida Right to Life said, “Let’s look at areas where parental permission is required regarding children. An underage child must have permission to get their ears pierced, get a tattoo, take an aspirin, or go on a field trip with their school. Logically, it is absurd that a child can be ushered off to an abortion clinic with no parental permission! In fact, abortion is the only elective surgical procedure that can be done without a parent’s permission.”

Current polling has shown a clear and overwhelming bipartisan support for “Parental Consent.” Even among those who consider themselves “pro-choice,” 73 percent of Floridians believe in and support this legislation.

The consent requirement does not apply if:


•    Notice is not required under specified exceptions to the parental notice requirement;


•    The abortion is performed during a medical emergency when there is insufficient time to obtain consent;


•    The parent or guardian has waived the right to consent; or


•    The minor petitions the circuit court where she resides and receives a judicial waiver of parental consent. The bill applies the preexisting statutory procedures for obtaining a judicial waiver of the notice requirement to the process of obtaining a judicial waiver of the consent requirement.


•    The bill requires that a physician keep the consent document and proof of identification in the minor’s medical record for at least seven years. The bill also authorizes a third degree felony penalty for a physician who recklessly or intentionally performs, or attempts to perform, an abortion on an unemancipated minor without the required consent but provides a defense if the minor misrepresented her age or identity under certain circumstances.

 

The bill is also amended to increase the penalty from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony for violating requirements established for infants born alive during or immediately after an attempted abortion.
The bill effect July 1, 2020.