Four women’s health care centers and two physicians — along with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood - today asked a federal court to strike down Florida’s new abortion notification law. They say it will endanger the health and lives of young women seeking abortions in Florida. In November, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring parental notification -- though NOT consent -- for teenage abortions. The Legislature passed a bill to put it into effect July 1st. Florida's law provides an exception to protect the health of the mother. It allows doctors to give a pregnant minor an abortion in a medical emergency. But the plaintiffs say it imposes elaborate restrictions on physicians that could prevent them from caring for teens facing medical emergencies. Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida Wendy Grassi, says her organization has long opposed parental notification.
“We feel there just are some cases where a teen is unable to tell a parent and in those cases where there could be abuse or incest or family difficulties like that where it’s impossible for a teen to tell a parent. We must protect the teen. I’m a mother of a daughter and if my daughter were in trouble for whatever reason if she felt she couldn’t come to me I would want to know that she could go to a safe place where there was trained professionals to treat her.”
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is one of the women’s health centers filing suit. They’d rather see policies that prevent teen pregnancy, provide counseling and ensure teens have access to comprehensive sex education. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a New Hampshire notification law this fall that could determine whether Florida's restrictions are constitutional. Florida and 43 other states have parental notification or consent laws. The Florida Catholic Conference says on its website that parental notification laws have been shown to dramatically decrease both teen abortion rates and teen birth rates in states where these laws have been enacted.
Friday, 24 June 2005 01:00