TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops thanks Governor Ron DeSantis for signing into law today SB 404, a bill that requires parental consent before a minor has an abortion. This common-sense measure simply holds abortion to the same consent requirements as most every other medical decision involving a child, including simple interventions such as taking an aspirin or getting ears pierced.
Pope Francis has called for parishes to be "islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference." In response to this call, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently launched Walking With Moms in Need: A Year of Service. This nationwide effort envisions that parish communities increase outreach to pregnant and parenting moms in need.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, we also mark the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II's encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). This prophetic document on the value and inviolability of every human life remains an indispensable source of truth. It reaffirms the "greatness and the inestimable value of human life" (EV 2) and addresses present-day legal, ethical, and moral threats to life, including abortion, artificial reproduction techniques, contraception, the death penalty, euthanasia, sterilization, and suicide.
HB 1217 (Beltran) authorizes hospitals, emergency medical service stations, and fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to install newborn safety devices or "baby boxes" to accept surrendered newborn infants. Florida's existing safe haven law allows parents who are unwilling or unable to care for their newborn children to anonymously surrender their infants and grants the parents immunity from criminal prosecution. HB 1217 increases the age that an infant may be surrendered from seven days to 30 days old.
On Thursday, the Florida House passed SB 404 (75-43). In a press release, the bishops of Florida commended our state legislature for passing, with bipartisan support, legislation that ensures a parent provides consent before a minor can terminate her pregnancy.
The bishops of Florida commend our state legislature for passing, with bipartisan support, legislation that ensures a parent provides consent before a minor can terminate her pregnancy. Parental consent is required prior to a minor's medical treatment in most every instance, this includes simple medical interventions such as taking an aspirin or getting one’s ears pierced. This legislation is a common-sense measure that holds abortion to the same consent requirements as most every other medical decision involving a child.
On Thursday, February 6, SB 404 (Stargel) passed the full Senate (23-17). The bill requires that a parent or legal guardian shall provide consent before a minor can terminate her pregnancy, as they must do in most every case prior to a minor's medical treatment. The bill includes a judicial waiver process when parental abuse is a concern.
SB 404 (Stargel) was heard by its second committee of reference, Senate Judiciary. After a lengthy period of testimony and a procedural move by an opponent that could have delayed a vote on the bill, it favorably passed the committee (3-2).
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida’s Catholic bishops have released a joint statement in somber recognition of the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. In Catholic dioceses in the U.S., January 22 is designated a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.
On December 10, SB 404 (Stargel) was taken up a second time by the Senate Health Policy Committee and passed (6-3). Last month, time expired before a vote due to stall tactics by lawmakers who oppose the underlying measure. At this week's meeting, committee members were able to hear testimony from members of the community, with several testifying in support of the right of parents to be involved in a life-altering decision made by their minor daughters. When a minor is pregnant the support of her family is crucial, regardless of whether she has an abortion, she chooses to parent that child, or she places that child for adoption.
On November 12, SB 404 (Stargel) was taken up by the Senate Health Policy Committee. In an effort to stall final consideration of the bill, fifteen amendments were filed by lawmakers who oppose the underlying measure. None of the amendments passed; however, the amendatory process and questions on the bill consumed the entire 90 minutes scheduled for the meeting. With time expiring, a vote on the bill could not be taken, and the bill was temporarily postponed. We expect the bill to be rescheduled for a future meeting of the committee.
On October 22, HB 265 (Grall) passed the House Health & Human Services Committee (12-6). The bill will be heard by the full House during the 2020 Legislative Session that begins in January. HB 265 and its Senate companion, SB 404 (Stargel), require parents to provide written consent before a minor receives an abortion.
Florida's First District Court of Appeal has sent a ruling that found a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion unconstitutional back to the circuit court for further consideration. Though plaintiffs may appeal the decision, it is expected the case will go to trial. The lower court suspended the 2015 law after a Gainesville abortion clinic challenged the required reflection period as a violation of privacy rights under Florida's constitution.
HB 1335 (Grall) would require that a parent or legal guardian provide consent before a minor can undergo an abortion. Parental consent is required for medical and surgical interventions for minors including ear piercing and dispensing aspirin at school. However, this is not the case when a minor seeks an abortion. The bill contains a provision that would allow the minor to petition the court for a waiver when parental abuse may be of concern.
HB 1335 (Grall) and SB 1774 (Stargel) would require that a parent or legal guardian provide consent before a minor can undergo an abortion. The bills contain a provision that would allow the minor to petition the court for a waiver in certain circumstances.
HB 1335, which requires that a parent shall provide consent before a minor can terminate her pregnancy, passed its first committee of reference, Health Quality Subcommittee (10-4). FCCB indicated its support for the bill during the meeting.
A video is now available as a companion resource to our Culture of Life brochure addressing our state constitution's privacy clause. Due to an interpretation of this right to privacy, the Florida Supreme Court found in 1989 that a law requiring parental consent prior to a minor's abortion was unconstitutional, even though similar laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bishops of Florida join with Catholics and others of goodwill in reacting in horror and disgust to the recently passed law in New York State that legalizes abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy and removes any protection for children born alive after abortion. Sadly, similar bills were proposed in Virginia and elsewhere. As Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, stated, "This legislation is evil, pure and simple."