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Anti-abortion groups push passage of Amendment Six

An anti-abortion group is asking Floridians to approve amendment six when they see it on the ballot this year. Regan McCarthy reports the proposed amendment would prohibit tax payer dollars from being used to fund abortions except in certain cases like rape. It would also pave the way for lawmakers to pass legislation that requires parents to give their consent before their minor child undergoes an abortion.

In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a parental consent measure passed by lawmakers years earlier. The justices ruled that children have the right to privacy, finding the law unconstitutional under the state’s “right of privacy” clause. The next year, citizens voted to amend the constitution to require doctors to notify parents before performing abortions on minors. Amendment six would go a step further. It would change the constitution so lawmakers could write legislation requiring parents to give their permission before their minor child could undergo an abortion. Randy Armstrong is the President of the group Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights.

“As a practicing physician in the emergency room, I took care of a 14 year old child who underwent an abortion without the consent or the knowledge of her parents. She presented to the emergency room in dire straits bleeding to death. We had to operate on that young lady two times to save her life and at the end of all that she will be unable to bear children.”

Armstrong says abortions can have lasting effects and parents should have the right to be a part of the decision if their minor child is seeking an abortion. Sheila Hopkins is with the Florida Catholic Conference. She says choice should be about what’s best for the family.

“The traditional thing that kids say is, ‘oh my parent is going to kill me if I tell them I’m pregnant.’ Well, no your parent is going to be mad at you, but they’re not going to kill you. And that’s the thing that they have to understand is that the parents ultimately want what’s best for the child and that’s why they need to sit down and work it out. What is best for their family situation? Is the best situation for them to have an abortion? Is the best situation for them to place the baby? Is the best situation for them to keep the baby in the family? So, again, this is about family.”

Armstrong says the purpose of the amendment is not to deny anyone access to getting an abortion. But groups, like the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, say the amendment is another step toward limiting a woman’s access to healthcare.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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