Proposal on Florida Ballot to Pave Way for Parental Notification Law

Abortion opponents hope that a proposed amendment to the Florida state constitution placing limits on the privacy rights of minors will pave the way for a state parental notification law. Two previous laws passed by the Florida state legislature requiring parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion were subsequently struck down by the state Supreme Court, according to Women’s eNews. The proposed constitutional amendment, which will be included on the November 2, 2004 ballot, is an attempt to ensure that a third effort to enact such a law will withstand any legal challenges Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined with Planned Parenthood of Florida and the Baker-Bradley family in a suit to have the parental notification proposal removed, as the wording is confusing and unclear, according to The NewStandard. While the amendment states that “the Legislature shall not limit or deny the privacy rights guaranteed to minors under the United States Supreme Court,” the proposal would in fact supercede the privacy guaranteed to minors in the Florida constitution, The NewStandard reports. Unfortunately, the motion to remove the amendment proposal was dismissed. Opponents of such parental notification laws argue that legislators cannot create policy that assumes to understand family relationships, and attempting to do so compromises the welfare of young women. Many abused teens would rather try to self-induce an abortion than risk further abuse and punishment at home. Women’s eNews reports that State Senator Gwen Margolis (D) shocked her colleagues earlier this year during a debate when she held up a coat hanger to demonstrate who some young women choose to end their unwanted pregnancies, saying “We’re talking about young women dying.” Forty-four states currently have parental consent or parental notification laws in place, reports Women’s eNews. Ten of these have been found to be unconstitutional and unenforceable. DONATE to protect the right to a safe, legal abortion


Women's eNews 8/23/04; The NewStandard 8/22/04, Feminist News 7/11/03, 5/5/04

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