Fast tracked: a big attack on reproductive freedom

By Amy Weintraub - November 7, 2019

The extreme right in the Florida Legislature is once again on the attack against reproductive freedom. With a Trojan Horse of a bill, they are scheming to end reproductive freedom in Florida by ushering in what is deceptively packaged as a family friendly measure.

Senate Bill 404, and it’s counterpart in the Florida House, HB 265 — so-called “parental consent” bills — are designed to trigger a challenge to our state constitution’s privacy clause. Abortion opponents have their eyes set on the Florida Supreme Court, now packed by Gov. DeSantis with conservative judges. Abortion rights opponents are banking on the new Court allowing a forced parental consent law to stand, ushering in a new wave of abortion restrictions, including an all out ban.

Call the State Senators listed below to stop this Trojan Horse anti-abortion bill.

HB 265 has already passed its only committee stop in the Florida House and SB 404 is on the agenda for next Tuesday in the Senate. Let’s not take this lying down — stop the Trojan Horse!

“We have some new court members, we need another look at what the privacy clause means and is for and I contend on the issue of parents taking responsibility of [sic] their children that parental consent is an easy argument for us. [We] will address where we are with the privacy clause in a new way that could open the door for many other accomplishments that save lives.”
- Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), Christian Family Coalition event

It’s critical supporters of reproductive freedom like you flood the phone lines of these members of the Senate Health Policy Committee, where SB 404 will come up for a vote on Tuesday. If you only have time for a few calls, prioritize the Republicans (first on the list).

  • Chair Senator Gayle Harrel (R-Stuart) 772-221-4019
  • Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) 352-750-3133
  • Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) 904-757-5039
  • Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) 305-364-3073
  • Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) 727-771-2102
  • Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) 321-409-2025
  • Vice Chair Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) 561-292-6014
  • Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) 954-424-6674
  • Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) 813-348-1017
  • Senator Darryl Ervin Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) 727-822-6828

Here’s an example of what you can say:

“I’m a Florida voter and I’m calling and urging the senator to oppose SB 404. Young Floridians already have enough government imposed barriers in accessing abortion care and additional requirements will make them less safe.”

SB 404 adds more stringent barriers for the more than 12,000 Florida adolescents who become pregnant each year. This harmful bill could require that young people deemed too “immature” to have an abortion become parents instead.

This is an all hands on deck moment for protecting reproductive freedom for all Floridians. We’re asking thousands of concerned Floridians like you to call every senator who will hear this bill. Our elected officials need to know that Floridians throughout the state are watching their actions.

For our rights and freedoms,

Amy Weintraub

Reproductive Rights Program Director

More about the bill, teens, pregnancy and abortion:

SB 404/HB 265 would require doctors to acquire notarized consent of a parent, as well as proof of parentage, before a young person could access abortion care. Current law already contains parental notification requirements.

Young people should be able to turn to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy, and in fact most do. But laws requiring a young person to further involve parents puts our teens’ health and safety at risk.

The small fraction of youth who do not voluntarily consult a parent often have good reason. Many come from families where such an announcement would only exacerbate an already volatile or dysfunctional family situation. They may not live with their parents due to family strife or incarceration. Some teens who don’t want to tell a parent about their abortion decision fear, if they did, they would be kicked out of the house. Others fear they would be physically abused because their parents had beaten them before.

The fact is, youth already are more likely than older women to have later abortions, and requiring a young person’s health care provider to acquire written permission will only cause further delays. (We saw that after Missouri enacted a forced parental consent law, the proportion of second-trimester abortions among minors increased by 17%.) While abortion is safer than childbirth, later abortions entail more medical risks and are more difficult to obtain because they are more expensive and fewer doctors perform them.