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Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Advocates Clash Ahead of 2020 Legislative Session

Eskamani stands at a podium with young adults from Planned Parenthood crowded around her. These adults hold signs that read, "Stop the Anti-Abortion Agenda," and "Protect Our Privacy, Stop HB 265/SB 404."
Robbie Gaffney
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WFSU

Under a potential law, teens in Florida would need consent from their parents to get an abortion. Abortion-rights advocates gave lawmakers an earful Tuesday.

Young women holds a small sign up that reads, "Stop the Anti-Abortion Agenda."
Credit Robbie Gaffney / WFSU
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WFSU
Planned Parenthood held a press conference to address HB 265.

Advocates and state representatives held a press conference to convince members of the House Health and Human Services Committee to vote down HB 265. If enacted, doctors would become felons if they abort a minor’s pregnancy without consent from the minor’s parents or legal guardian. Rep. Eskamani says House Republicans are looking to ultimately ban abortion in Florida.

“The reality is that ever since Governor Ron DeSantis was able to appoint three new justices to Florida’s Supreme Court — shifting the partisanship to the hard right — our colleagues who oppose access to abortion have wanted to test the courts with legislation,” Eskamani says.

Current law only requires parents or legal guardians to be notified. If the law is adopted, Planned Parenthood’s Lauren Brenzel says it will put vulnerable teens at risk.

Young woman with short hair and a suit stands in a hallway.
Credit Robbie Gaffney / WFSU
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WFSU
Lauren Brenzel is Planned Parenthood's state-wide organizer. She says HB 265 is a 'trojan horse' to pass further anti-abortion legislation.

“The young people who don’t tell their parents are young people who are abused. Young people who are neglected. Young people who don’t have a good relationship with their guardian or parent. They’re unhoused and these are the people that this bill would most impact,” Brenzel says.

Supporters of the bill claim that teens aren’t mature enough to decide the life or death of their unborn child. Mary Corden agrees. When she was young, Corden had an abortion without telling her parents.

“If I had notified my parents they would have supported me but I was afraid that they wouldn’t,” Corden says. “I really regret my abortion and also I now counsel — peer counsel young ladies who are also suffering from post-abortive syndrome and it’s a real thing. Maybe not for everybody but there are hundreds and thousands of women out there who suffer this."

Post-abortive syndrome is when women feel guilty, depressed, or even suicidal after having an abortion. The American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association does not recognize post-abortive syndrome.

Advocates for the bill say teens need their parents to provide emotional support to get an abortion. Under the law, teens could petition the court to get an abortion without consent and doctors could perform the procedure without consent if there’s a medical emergency. The bill passed the Health and Human Services Committee. Now, it’s ready for consideration by the full house. The senate version has yet to be heard.