Anti-abortion group launches ‘Yes on 6′ constitutional amendment campaignby Dara Kam | April 10th, 2012
A group of anti-abortion advocates is urging voters to support a constitutional amendment they say will allow lawmakers to revisit a parental consent measure struck down by the courts.
“Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights” launched the “Yes on 6″ campaign last month, advocating for a constitutional amendment placed on the November ballot by lawmakers last year.
The ballot language does not mention parental consent – which would require a parent to give their permission before a minor girl can have the procedure – but would specifically exempt abortions from the privacy clause of the state’s constitution.
The Florida Supreme Court in 2003 struck down a 1999 parental notification law because of that clause, ruling that even children had the right to privacy.
The following year, voters required a constitutional amendment requiring that parental notification before a girl can have an abortion. Florida law now requires that parents or guardians be notified at least 48 hours before a girl can have an abortion and allows for judge’s to grant permission in certain cases.
But that law doesn’t go far enough, proponents of Amendment 6 on this year’s ballot argued.
Parents should be required to sign off on abortions as they must for body piercings and tattoos, said Randy Armstrong, a Tampa obstetrician and president of Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights.
“Parental consent is the number one issue that we have,” he said.
The proposed amendment, entitled “Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights,” would bar public money from being spent on abortions, something already prohibited by federal and state law. Currently, poor women can receive abortions paid for by Medicaid – the state/federal health care program – only in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. Like all other changes to the constitution, the proposal requires 60 percent of voter approval to pass.
The ballot summary that will appear before voters in November reads:
“This proposed amendment provides that public funds may not be expended for any abortion or for health-benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. This prohibition does not apply to an expenditure required by federal law, a case in which a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would place her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, or a case of rape or incest. This proposed amendment provides that the State Constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution. With respect to abortion, this proposed amendment overrules court decisions which conclude that the right of privacy under Article I, Section 23 of the State Constitution is broader in scope than that of the United States Constitution.”