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May-05-04

FL: Legislature Seeks Parental Notification Constitutional Amendment

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature on Friday garnered the three-fifths majority necessary to place a proposed constitutional amendment restricting abortion access for young women on the ballot this November. In what the Orlando Sentinel calls a "politically charged measure," the amendment would require that female minors under the age of 18 seek parental consent before obtaining an abortion.

The measure, a top priority for the state's Republican Party and for Governor Jeb Bush, was pushed through at 11 p.m. on the last day of the congressional session. Its placement on the ballot in November could help persuade hard-line conservatives to get themselves to the polls on election day and in turn cast a vote for President Bush, according to the Sentinel. The Florida Senate passed the measure with a judicial waver, ensuring that a judge can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, particularly in the event of rape or incest. The Florida House opposed such exceptions.

This is the third time Florida's legislature has attempted to restrict abortion access for minors. In 1989, and again in 2003, the Florida Supreme Court found laws requiring parental notification unlawful. Requiring a young woman to inform her parents of her reproductive choice, according to the ruling of the justices, "imposes a direct and significant intrusion on a pregnant minor's right to privacy," according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. The ruling continued, saying that the Florida constitution gives citizens "the right to be let alone and free from government intrusion," Kaiser reports.

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Media Resources: Orlando Sentinel 5/1/04; St. Petersburg Times 5/1/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 5/3/04

   

     

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