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Florida

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Florida law restricts young women's access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?
  Yes. 

Who is considered a minor?
  A young woman under the age of 18.

What is required parental consent or parental notice?
  Notice.

Who must be notified?
  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?
  No.

What is the process for providing notification?
  A young woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 48 hours after actual notice is given in person or by telephone by the attending or referring physician to one parent.  If actual notice is not possible after a reasonable effort has been made, 72 hours constructive notice by certified first class mail, return receipt requested, must be given.  After 72 hours have passed, delivery is deemed to have occurred.  Parental notice is not required if it is waived in writing by the person entitled to notice.  The young woman may waive notice if she is or has been married, if she has been emancipated by a court, or if she already has a minor dependent child.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?
  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion if she is a victim of sexual abuse.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?
  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion if she is a victim of child abuse.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened?
  Yes, but only if a medical emergency exists.  A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition of the young woman that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve her life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."  In this instance, the parents still must be notified after the procedure.

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?
  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?
  She must secure a court order stating:  (1) by clear and convincing evidence that:  the minor is sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy; (2) by a preponderance of the evidence that there is evidence of child abuse or sexual abuse by one or both parents; or (3) by the preponderance of the evidence that parental notice is not in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law? 
No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  Pro-choice advocacy groups challenged the parental-notification law, which took effect on July 1, 2005, as an infringement upon the constitutional rights of both providers of abortion care and minors who seek abortion, but, in February of 2006, a federal judge upheld the law as constitutional.  WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi, 448 F. Supp. 2d 1309 (N.D. Fla. 2006).

In 2003, a court held that Florida's previous parental-notification law violated minors' state constitutional privacy rights, and deemed the law unenforceable.  Fla. Stat. Ann. §390.01115 (Enacted 1999), §390.01116 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2010), §1.01(13) (Original Statute Enacted 1892; Relevant Provision Enacted 1973); N. Fla. Women's Health & Counseling Servs. v. State, 866 So. 2d 612 (Fla. 2003).  In response to the court's decision in North Florida Women's Health and Counseling Services v. State, state legislators passed a joint resolution to amend the state constitution.  The resolution, which then became a ballot initiative approved by a majority of Florida voters in 2004, establishes that the legislature may require parental notification without violating a young woman's state constitutional right of privacy, as long as the parental-notification law provides for certain exceptions and a judicial bypass.  The Florida legislature established such a parental-notification law in 2005, and it was signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush in May 2005.  This act took effect on July 1, 2005.  Prior to upholding the law as constitutional, the federal judge in WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi had rejected a request from pro-choice advocacy groups for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect.  WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi, 448 F. Supp. 2d 1293 (N.D. Fla. 2005) (temporary injunction denied).

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.01114 (Enacted 2005).


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