Florida is on the verge of passing a law that would require one parent to consent to a minor daughter’s abortion. This is an important step toward restoring the rights of parents in the Sunshine state.
If we look at this bill honestly, in addition to addressing abortion, the most important issue, it’s also about parents being allowed to be involved in their child’s life when it is most important.
A Priests for Life staffer told me of a time when she was a 20-year-old student spending the summer in her college town, about four hours away from home. After about 10 hours of suffering abdominal pain, she took herself to a hospital emergency room at about midnight. The doctor said her appendix was about to burst. Before they could remove it, her parents were called and gave consent to the operation.
This happened in New York State, where a 12-year-old girl can take herself to an abortion facility and have a procedure that will impact her for the rest of her life, and her parents don’t even have to know about it, much less consent. It’s yet another example of the separate set of rules that govern abortion.
Florida is not as extreme as New York, in that it currently requires that one parent be notified. If a young woman feels she cannot do that, she can apply for a judicial bypass. The bypass would still be available in the new consent law.
When the Florida law is passed, as expected, and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, as promised, Florida will join about two dozen other states that require the consent of one parent. Three states – Kansas, Mississippi and North Dakota – require the consent of both parents. Various other states require just parental notification.
Only the most radically pro-abortion states – New York, California, New Jersey, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington – allow young girls to have this potentially fatal procedure on their own. Several years ago, a mother in Seattle was incensed to know school personnel got her daughter a taxi and sent her to get an abortion without ever contacting her, and that it was perfectly legal to do so!
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You don’t have to be a parent to see how wrong that is.
Discussing the bill in the Florida Senate last week, Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican from Fleming Island, said the bill is about “the right of parents to raise their children. We should be encouraging parental involvement with their children in manners of morality and religion, and this bill promotes that.”
Parental involvement is encouraged in every aspect of a child’s life. Parents are urged to read to their children from a young age – even in the womb – and to be active in their schools and sports teams. Why shouldn’t they be involved in a decision with life-changing consequences?
Requiring parental consent is far from ensuring that a girl will not go through with an abortion. Many testimonies from the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign indicate that it’s often the parents who insist on abortion.
But there are also those who wish they had told their parents in the hope that maybe they would have made a better choice.
Kim from Massachusetts writes:
“I had an abortion as a teen. I was pressured into it. I needed to be stronger, but I wasn’t. I needed to run, but I didn’t. I needed to confide in my parents. They would have helped me, but I was too scared.”
It’s understandable that young girls might be scared to tell their parents that they are not only sexually active but pregnant. A decision this big, however, is not something any minor should make alone.
Florida will be helping young women and their parents when parental consent becomes law.
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Author: Father Frank Pavone