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Abortion Rights Advocates Weighing Whether To Sue Over Parental Consent Law

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Robbie Gaffney
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida abortion rights advocates are weighing whether to challenge a new law on abortion signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. It requires minors to get their parent or guardian's consent before ending their pregnancy.

Deciding whether to challenge Florida's new law isn't easy. Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Legislative Affairs Manager Laura Hernandez says the group is concerned about what happens if they sue, and end up losing the case:

"So if for the example, if the court were to uphold this piece of legislation in court, it would make it easier for future lawmakers to introduce and pass more abortion restrictions and see it as constitutional and that could be, for example, an all-out abortion ban which."

When a similar parental consent law passed, it was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court in 1989. However, most of the justices sitting on the bench at that time appointed by Democratic governors. The majority are now Republican appointees.

"We know that the governor has appointed folks that are you know, very not favorable or friendly on our issues. So our concern was with the current members that are sitting in the state's Supreme Court," Hernandez says.

Previously, Florida minors had to notify their parents before getting an abortion—now they'll have to get their parent or guardian's consent. There is an option to get an exemption from the courts, but minors will have to navigate the legal system.

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Robbie Gaffney is a recent graduate from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.