TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate Rules Committee voted Wednesday to send an abortion parental consent bill to the chamber's floor for a final vote, prompting abortion rights activists to redouble their efforts to defeat it.
Here are five things to know about the controversial measure:
1. What would the bill do?
The legislation, SB 404 by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), would require girls to obtain permission from their parents before they could have an abortion.
2. Why is it needed?
The bill's supporters argue girls aren't mature enough to make a decision as consequential as electing to have an abortion. Just as girls are required to have parental permission to get their ears pierced, they say the same consent requirement should apply to abortion.
In Stargel's words, "Adults are responsible for helping children to make mature decisions, and parents have the fundamental right over all other adults to help their children make those mature decisions."
3. What does Wednesday's vote mean?
With approval by the Rules Committee, parental consent can now be voted on by the full Senate. While the bill easily passed the more conservative House last year, it failed to advance in the Senate. This year's measure, however, has earned the backing of Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), who wields broad power to set the Senate's agenda.
4. How are critics reacting?
Pro-choice activists, gathered in the Capitol rotunda to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision upholding the right to abortion, expressed dismay over the Rules Committee's vote, but pledged to work against the odds to prevent parental consent from passing the full Senate.
5. What is their strategy?
The activists argue choosing to have an abortion is a fundamental right that belongs to all women, regardless of age.
At Wednesday's rally, Jasmen Rogers Shaw asked," How can men, how can rich people, how can adults, how can white people, make the best decisions for poor, young, black and brown women? They can't."