TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With Republican legislation to mandate abortion parental consent poised to pass the Florida Senate Thursday, abortion rights activists descended on the state Capitol Tuesday to rally against the bill.
They met face-to-face with a group of pro-life advocates fighting to secure the measure's passage.
Here are five things you should know about the legislation:
1. What would the legislation do?
If SB 404 becomes law, the proposal would require girls to secure permission from the parents in order to have an abortion.
To improve the bill's chances of passing, sponsors have inserted a “judicial bypass” option that would allow girls in fear of parental retribution to petition a judge to grant them the right to obtain an abortion.
2. What are its prospects of passing?
Quite good. While a similar measure failed to advance in the Senate last year, Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) has thrown his support behind this year's legislation, effectively putting it on the fast track to passage.
If parental consent passes the Senate Thursday, it's expected to sail through the House and be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
3. What did the abortion rights activists have to say?
Chanting “No forced pregnancy” and “SB 404, don't you bring it to the floor,” the activists accused Republican leaders of infringing on a right to choose they say should belong to all females, regardless of age.
"It just would be a very difficult, incredible impediment to these young women, just one more impediment in a series of many, and I think the basic reason for them, for the Senate and the House trying to pass these bills is just because they want to get rid of our privacy," said Judy Gallizzi, a pro-choice advocate from St. Petersburg.
4. How about supporters?
Walking among the bill's opponents Tuesday, Lutz pastor Gilbert Rodriguez proclaimed that the legislation is aimed at preventing girls from making rash decisions.
"That little baby girl in the stomach has a right to live! We protect the little girl in the stomach. We believe in the protecting the girl's right to live," he told the abortion rights activists.
5. What happens next?
Senate leaders have set aside time for more than four hours of debate on the legislation Thursday afternoon.