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Florida legislature passes law to require parental consent for minors' abortions

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Governor expected to sign the bill, which would go into effect July 1

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A measure that would require girls under the age of 18 to get parental consent before having an abortion is headed to the desk of Florida's Republican governor, Ron Desantis, after passage in both chambers of the state legislature.

The state's House of Representatives passed the bill on Thursday by a vote of 75-43, mostly along party lines, according to a report at the Associated Press. The Senate passed it by a vote of 23-17 earlier this month.

As the Tampa Bay Times explained, while Florida law currently requires parents be notified if their child receives an abortion, the recently passed measure requires parental consent for the procedure as well.

"What we are talking about is a child, and here [we] are talking about a child who is carrying a child," Republican bill sponsor Rep. Erin Grall said, according to the AP. "By including parents in this decision we empower the family. It is the critical backbone of our civilized society."

Other supporters of the measure have pointed out that parental consent is required for minor-aged children to do other things, and therefore should be to get an abortion.

"In the Sunshine State, a young girl needs a parent or guardian's approval before she gets a tattoo, but she can undergo an invasive, often dangerous procedure without any input from mom or dad," Susan B. Anthony List state policy director Sue Liebel said in a statement praising the bill's house passage. "Parents ought to have the right to protect and support their young daughters."

"Children can't go to a movie without a parent, can't receive medications in school without parental consent, so it is consistent," GOP House Speaker Jose Oliva said of the measure, according to the Center Square.

However, opponents just see the legislation as yet another effort to erode abortion rights.

"Certain lawmakers insist on claiming that this bill is about protecting minors and ensuring parental involvement or guidance — but that is not the reality," a statement from ACLU of Florida Legislative Director Kara Gross said. "It is about politicians creating a system where minors will be forced to have children against their will, placed in harm's way and stripped of their constitutionally protected right to end an unintended pregnancy."

DeSantis is expected to sign the bill, which would go into effect July 1. He asked lawmakers to send it to his desk last month during his State of the State address.

The big question is what will happen if and when the legislation gets taken to court, since the Florida Supreme Court struck down a parental consent requirement in 1989. Desantis said Thursday that he welcomes a review of the law by the current court, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Three of the seven members of the current Florida Supreme Court have been appointed by DeSantis.

Twenty-six other states currently require parental consent for a minor to get an abortion.

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