Teenagers may soon be required to notify their parents before they could get an abortion if legislation continues to move forward at the Florida Capitol. Many parents support the measure, but opponents fear it could put girls from troubled families in danger.
Kerri Kinsora and her young son traveled from Tampa to Tallahassee to urge lawmakers to pass legislation requiring teens to notify parents before getting an abortion.
Kerri says, “These are children. They’re not women, and they need guidance. They need protection, they need help, and there’s no one better to do that than a parent.”
To make her case, Kinsora crowded into a hearing room at the Capitol with other passionate people on both sides of the issue.
“We are asking you, we are begging you to stand up for what is right,” she said.
But opponents argue there are real-life scenarios where girls will be hurt if this bill passes, either through botched abortions in illegal clinics because they didn’t want to tell their parents, or by their parents themselves.
Clinic director Mona Reis says she’s heard many tragic stories from teens trapped in the worst of dysfunctional families.
Mona says, “That they’ll be thrown out of the house. They express the fear of physical violence. They express being unable to discuss anything with their parents.”
But lawmakers were unmoved. They passed the bill, overwhelmingly with just one no vote. The bill has government telling families what to do, but bill sponsor Jeff Kottkamp says voters have made their feelings very clear.
Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, (R) Cape Coral, says, “All we’re doing is complying with the will of the citizens of the state of Florida who passed the constitutional amendment, and they said in a strong, resounding voice: ‘We believe parents should be involved in this decision.’ “
Those who would be most affected by the bill though are not old enough to vote. The parental notification bill would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to petition the courts for a waiver allowing them to have an abortion without telling their parents. It also would grant a waiver in cases of sexual or child abuse.
The bill could go to the full Senate for a vote as early as Thursday.