In response to Florida’s recent passage of a parental consent law, an abortion advocacy group called Floridians for Reproductive Freedom has set up a new website to aid underage girls in obtaining judicial bypass to get abortions without their parents’ knowledge.
Floridians for Reproductive Freedom is a coalition of both state and national abortion advocacy organizations like Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Amy Weintraub, a representative of member organization Progress Florida, told Florida NBC affiliate WFLA News 8 about the reason for the website, claiming:
Where there is parental involvement, young people are less likely to be able to get an abortion, because they don’t want to tell their parents, they can’t tell their parents. There’s a wide variety of reasons why a teen may not want to involve their parent, including abuse, neglect, if a parent can’t be found, etc. and so those are teens who aren’t likely to be able to access safe and legal abortion care. We believe that that is an infringement of their rights. It’s a legal, safe process.
The law already contains a waiver for girls who may be victims of incest or abuse, but according to Weintraub, that waiver is insufficient. “It is a hurdle,” she claimed. “Going through a court process is something that many teenagers would be very, very intimidated about tackling on their own. It requires multiple visits to your local courthouse, you have to interface with court clerks, attorneys, with judges. That’s not something that most Florida teenagers are used to or would want to try out.”
According to the Miami Herald, 193 out of roughly 1,500 teenage girls seeking abortions went through the judicial bypass process last year to avoid the law requiring parental notification only—not consent.
Floridians for Reproductive Freedom also campaigns against pregnancy resource centers. Its “Fake Clinic Working Group” seeks to “raise public awareness of anti-abortion pregnancy centers, nearly 200 of which are located in Florida, and ultimately to change laws that legitimize and fund these anti-abortion entities.” The website claims that pregnancy care centers provide “medically inaccurate information” and cast “judgment” on women who visit them. In reality, pregnancy care centers provide medically accurate, non-judgmental information about all of a woman or young girl’s options, including adoption, abortion, and parenting. Additionally, they typically provide many services and supplies completely free of charge to women who choose to parent, with help ranging from setting up prenatal care to rent assistance to diapers and other baby necessities.
Parental consent laws are beneficial because they help prevent hasty, panicked decisions that young girls may later regret, and because they can protect against the sexual abuse of minors. But abortion advocacy organizations have consistently opposed even these commonsense abortion regulations, exploiting the exception (girls in abusive homes) and ignoring the norm.
Though she did not provide any source, Weintraub herself claimed that currently, “Over 90% of teenagers do involve their parents when they are seeking abortion care.” While the website purports to help girls who can’t get parental permission for safety reasons, it also targets girls who “simply don’t want to disappoint their parents.”
By making judicial bypass information easier to access, abortion advocates are capitalizing on the natural fear and shame that an unplanned pregnancy can bring to any teen girl, regardless of how healthy her relationship with her parents may be.
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