The Phoenix Flyer

FL state House debates a controversial parental-consent bill that is expected to pass

By: - February 19, 2020 6:08 pm

Republican State Rep. Erin Grall is sponsor of the parental-consent bill.

The Republican-led state House debated a controversial parental-consent bill Wednesday, and it’s expected to be approved at a later time. The legislation has already been passed by the state Senate.

The legislation requires women under the age of 18 to have the consent of a parent or legal guardian before ending a pregnancy. State law already requires parents to be notified if a teenage daughter is seeking an abortion.

House Democrats attempted to amend the legislation, but Republicans rejected the changes.

Legislative leaders support the bill, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is in support as well. That means the legislation will be approved and opponents expect to launch a court case before the Florida Supreme Court.

Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, are prepared to challenge the law in court, arguing that the state Supreme Court has previously rejected a parental-consent law as a violation of Florida’s unique right to privacy in its state Constitution.

State Rep. Erin Grall, a Republican representing Indian River and part of St. Lucie, is sponsor of the bill and believes it will protect parents’ fundamental right to parent in the way they see fit.

During the debate, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat who represents part of Orange County, asked Grall if she thought that the bill would create unfair hurdles for minors of undocumented parents, incarcerated parents, or homeless minors.

“No,” Grall replied.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell, who represents part of Hillsborough County, asked how the bill provides considerations for minors who are victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking.

Grall encouraged those minors to seek the judicial waiver in the bill.

Rep. Cindy Polo, Democrat representing parts of Broward and parts of Miami-Dade counties, asked Grall what steps minors can take if their parents do not consent to the abortion but the minor wishes to not be pregnant.

“She could seek emancipation,” Grall said.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.