A Florida House panel earlier this week OK’d a bill requiring parental consent before a minor seeks to undergo an abortion. The current requirement is limited to parental notification.
The House Health & Human Services Committee was HB 265’s only stop, so it will go to a House floor vote when the Legislature convenes in January. The bill was filed by Republican Rep. Erin Grall of Vero Beach.
The passage was not unexpected. Several members of the committee co-sponsored the bill, and the panel leans heavily GOP, as does the House itself.
The bill has been through the House before. If it is passed this year and becomes law, it would reinstate a provision from the 1980s that required parental consent.
The state’s Supreme Court threw out that law in 2003, and its revival could be a test of the conservatism of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ reconfigured Supreme Court.
Rep. Kamia Brown, one of the few Democrats on the committee, questioned why such a major bill had just one committee stop.
Chairman Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, refused to entertain that question, part of a pattern where he sought to limit debate to more narrowly-defined issues of the measure under consideration.
Another Democrat, Nicholas Duran, questioned whether the bill was constitutional, in light of the Supreme Court decision.
The ACLU and League of Women Voters panned the bill, while representatives of Christian groups lauded the legislation.
While the House bill is all but passed, the Senate bill (SB 404) has three committee stops, a more imposing task for its sponsor Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican.