TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday passed legislation requiring a parent’s written consent for a physician to perform an abortion on a minor, as well as improving the protection of live born babies.
What you need to know
- The law requires notarized written consent from the minor’s mother, father or guardian
- Requirement does not apply if abortion is performed during a medical emergency
- Minors can also give up court proceedings
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The bill, originally written by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), was passed in the Florida Senate in February.
Minors now require notarized, written consent from their mother, father or guardian for a healthcare provider to perform an abortion. In addition, the healthcare provider must receive an identity document from said mother, father or guardian.
“The serious and irrevocable decision to end a pregnancy includes undergoing a major medical procedure that in many cases leads to lifelong emotional and physical consequences,” said Senate President Bill Galvano in a statement after the bill was signed. “The parents of a minor child who is considering an abortion should be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision.”
Galvano and Stargel were present in Tallahassee with DeSantis for the signing of the bill.
The bill contains exceptions when the abortion is performed during a medical emergency and there is not enough time to obtain parental consent. A minor can also ask the court for an exception to the consent requirement.
“For those who are in a situation of abuse or where parental consent is not in the best interests of the child, the bill provides for a judicial waiver process that still involves adult intervention,” said Galvano.
The part of the new law that regulates the protection of babies born alive reinforces existing laws. Currently, healthcare professionals are required by law to attempt to preserve the life of a live baby while attempting an abortion. Violation of the current law has led to a first-degree crime. The new law lifts that sentence to a third degree offense.
Critics, democratic legislators respond
Critics responded quickly to DeSantis’ signing of the bill.
In particular, representatives of Central Florida, Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) and Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando), compared DeSantis’ signing of the bill to his treatment of the Florida coronavirus pandemic and his refusal to issue a state-wide mask mandate to prepare.
Prior to its approval, critics of the law called the bill a fundamental attack on abortion rights in Florida, saying that all women, regardless of age, have the right to opt for an abortion. They suggested that the bill for Republicans was a means of testing what could be a new favorable judicial climate that is less likely to lift abortion restrictions, pointing to a new conservative majority in the Florida Supreme Court installed by Governor Ron DeSantis.