TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law on Tuesday legislation requiring written parental consent for a physician to perform an abortion on a minor, and also enhancing protections for infants born alive.
What You Need To Know
- Law requires notarized, written consent from minor's mother, father, or guardian
- Requirement does not apply if abortion performed during medical emergency
- Minor can also obtain judicial waiver
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The bill, originally written by State Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), passed in the Florida Senate in February.
Minors will now require notarized, written consent from their mother, father, or guardian for a health care professional to perform an abortion. In addition, the health care professional will need to be presented with proof of identification of said mother, father, or guardian.
“The serious and irrevocable decision to end a pregnancy involves undergoing a significant medical procedure that results, in many cases, in lifelong emotional and physical impacts," said Senate President Bill Galvano in a statement following the bill signing. "The parents of a minor child considering an abortion must be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision."
Galvano and Stargel were on hand in Tallahassee with DeSantis for the bill signing.
The bill does provide exceptions in cases where the abortion is performed during a medical emergency and there's not enough time to obtain parental consent. Also, a minor can ask the courts for an exception to the consent requirement.
"For those who are in a situation of abuse or where parental consent is not in the child’s best interest, the bill provides a judicial waiver process that still involves the intervention of an adult,” Galvano said.
The portion of the new law governing protections for infants born alive strengthens existing laws. Currently, health care professionals are required by law to attempt to preserve the life of an infant born alive during an attempted abortion. Violation of the current law resulted in a first-degree misdemeanor. The new law raises that penalty to a third-degree felony.
Critics, Democratic lawmakers respond
Response from critics to DeSantis signing the bill into law was swift.
In particular, Central Florida Reps. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) and Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) compared DeSantis' signing of the bill to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida and his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate.
Prior to its passage, critics of the legislation called the bill a fundamental assault on abortion rights in Florida, saying all women, regardless of age have the right to chose to have an abortion. They suggested that the bill was a vehicle for Republicans to test what could be a newly-favorable judicial environment less inclined to overturn abortion restrictions, pointing to a new conservative majority on the Florida Supreme Court installed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.