The Florida Senate on Thursday passed a controversial law requiring minors to have parental consent for an abortion, which is expected to be reconciled with another similar bill in the House and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
After a long and controversial procedure in the upper house, the measure was approved today with 23 votes in favor and 17 against, despite opposition from Democrats who consider it unconstitutional and a violation of the privacy law.
The measure, along with a similar one underway in the lower house, is expected to be signed by Republican DeSantis, who anticipated it last month in his annual address to the state Congress.
If approved, Florida would be one of 26 states that currently require at least one parent or legal guardian to give permission for an abortion in writing.
Last Tuesday the Senate delayed the final vote, while at the gates of the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, several hundred people demonstrated against the new rules.
Currently, the legislation provides that legal guardians will only be notified in the event that a minor in their care requests an abortion, but now they will have to approve the procedure except in the case of a medical emergency.
The new law, which met with Democratic opposition, passed thanks to a Republican majority in the Senate, arguing that parents should be involved in vital decisions such as abortions, as noted by fellow Republican and Florida’s House Speaker Bill Galvano.
“This law is about protecting pregnant minors. These young women need to be guided by their parents, and they have a fundamental right to exercise that right,” Galvano said in a statement.
For those who are in abusive situations or when parental consent does not take into account the benefit of the minor, the law provides a judicial process that also involves adult intervention.
Terrie Rizzo, president of the Florida Democratic Party, criticized DeSantis and Republican lawmakers for “dismantling abortion rights in Florida.
She recalled that in 1980 voters created a state constitutional right to privacy and nine years later the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the parental consent law for abortion was unconstitutional.
“Republican lawmakers will eventually override the will of the people. Floridians believe that women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies and our laws should reflect that,” Rizzo said.