Bill making it harder for minors to get judicial waivers for abortions headed to governorby Dara Kam | May 5th, 2011
The Florida Senate approved a measure that would make it harder for young women to get a judge to sign off on an abortion without her parents or guardians’ knowledge.
The Senate approved the measure (HB 1247) with a 26-12 vote with just one Republican, Sen. Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach, voting against it. The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, who is likely to sign it.
Democrats argued that the many young women seeking the judicial waivers are afraid to tell their parents because they have been raped or abused by a family member and that the current parental notification law requiring a minor to go to a judge anywhere in the appellate district in which she lives is working. Last year, about judges issued about 300 orders allowing the procedure.
Sen. Gwen Margolis, a former Senate president, said she was around before the historic Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion. Margolis spoke of a young friend who bled to death after trying to give herself an abortion because she was too scared to tell her parents.
“That’s what happens with a lot of these young women. They’re afraid to tell their families…This is the real world. In the olden days, we had lots of deaths because of this kind of action,” said Margolis, D-Miami.
But Sen. Alan Hays, the bill sponsor, said that abortion counselors are taking children across the state to judges who would be more likely to grant the waiver.
“I find it totally and completely repulsive that we would allow an adult to take one of these 13 or 14-year-old young ladies and drive her from Crestview to Fernandina Beach to get an abortion,” Hays, R-Umatilla, argued.
Stay tuned for the vote on a second abortion bill requiring women to have ultrasounds before they get abortions. The Senate is now debating the measure, similar to one vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist last year.