Florida lawmakers will renew their debate over reproductive rights in the 2020 session

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Updated: Additional abortion bills have been filed in the House.

The debate over reproductive rights will be renewed in the 2020 Florida Legislature.

Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel has filed a bill (SB 404) that would require teenage girls to have parental consent before undergoing an abortion. Stargel filed a similar bill in the 2019 session that passed the Senate Health Policy Committee in a 5-4 vote but never reached the Senate floor.

Also in the 2019 session, the House voted 69-44 for a bill requiring women under the age of 18 to have parental consent before ending a pregnancy. But the bill died in the Senate.

On Tuesday, Vero Beach Republican Rep. Erin Grall filed a parental-consent abortion bill (HB 265) in the House.

And Pensacola Republican Rep. Mike Hill filed a “heartbeat” bill (HB 271) that would prohibit abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. He filed a similar bill in the 2019 session but it was never heard.

Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani says the new legislation is similar to efforts around the country by anti-abortion groups to promote “inflammatory, shaming rhetoric and extreme laws that punish women and criminalize providers.”

“Florida is no different,” Eskamani said in a statement. “A six-week abortion ban has been re-filed in the Florida House and parental consent legislation has been re-filed in both the House and Senate. We stand in bold opposition to these laws, certain that they will fail when their constitutionality is tested, and prepared to continue our fight in protecting safe and legal access to abortion in Florida.”

Here’s a recap from the Florida Phoenix on legislation impacting reproductive rights in the 2019 session.

Opponents of abortion have renewed their efforts to restrict the procedure in light of a much more conservative judiciary, which is the result of appellate court appointments by former Gov. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In early August, a state appellate court revived a 2015 Florida law that requires women to wait 24 hours before undergoing an abortion.

The 2-1 ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal overturned a decision by a Leon County circuit judge, who had held the law was unconstitutional because it violated a woman’s privacy rights under the Florida Constitution. The case has been returned to the trial court for a new proceeding.


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