Florida legislature passes parental notification, rejects D & X abortion ban
May/June 1999

The 1999 session of the Florida State Legislature ended with mixed results. While Democratic pro-choice legislators (with the help of moderate Republicans), managed to hold back two anti-abortion bills, two others passed. Planned Parenthood's pro-active legislative priority for this year, contraceptive equity, also failed to pass.

Parental Notification of Abortion: Requires physicians to notify the parents of a minor 48 hours in advance of performing an abortion on that minor. Planned Parenthood opposes mandatory notification, which is unnecessary for the majority of teens who voluntarily involve a parent, and dangerous for those who cannot. This bill will most likely be found unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court, as was a similar bill in 1989. Supporters of the bill are expected to attempt a constitutional amendment next year, eliminating a minor's right to privacy from the Florida Constitution.

"Choose-Life" license plate: Planned Parenthood opposed this bill, which politicizes what should be a private, personal reproductive decision, and implies state endorsement of one choice over another.

Failed to Pass:
So-called "Partial-Birth Abortion" ban: Thanks to moderate Republican Senators Latvala and Saunders, who questioned the wisdom of passing a bill which was not significantly different from the one thrown out by the courts last year, the PBA ban did not get out of the Senate Health Committee. Sponsors vow to bring it back next year.

Abortion Clinic Licensing bill: Would have required any physician's office in which a physician performs even one abortion per year to be licensed as an abortion clinic. Would have created a public "hit list" of abortion providers around the state. Also failed to pass the Senate Health Committee.

Contraceptive Equity: Would have required health insurance plans which cover prescriptive drugs to also cover prescriptive birth control pills. We did some good public education around the issue, however, which should help us next year. Action: Contact Gov. Bush and ask him to veto the Parental Notification of Abortion bill and the "Choose-Life" license plate. (Gov. Bush has already said he will sign these bills, but he still needs to know that many Floridians oppose them.) Ph:850-488-4441; Fax:850-487-0801 Address: Governor Jeb Bush, The Capitol, Tallahassee, 32399.

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