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The Florida Senate

President Office — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 6, 2020

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229


Senate Passes Legislation to Secure Parental Consent for Abortion, Protect Infants Born Alive

Legislation enhances penalties for mistreatment of infants born alive during an abortion

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill 404, Abortion, by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland). The legislation prohibits a physician from performing an abortion on a minor child unless the physician has received a notarized, written consent statement signed by the child’s mother, father, or legal guardian.

“The serious and irrevocable decision to end a pregnancy involves undergoing a significant medical procedure that results, in many cases, in lifelong emotional and physical impacts. The parents of a minor child considering an abortion must be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision,” said Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).

“This bill is about protecting minors who are pregnant. These young women need their parents’ guidance, and parents have a fundamental right to provide that guidance,” said Senator Stargel. “For those who are in a situation of abuse or where parental consent is not in the child’s best interest, the bill provides a judicial waiver process that still involves the intervention of an adult. We also increased the penalties for violating the Infants Born Alive Act, making it a felony to refuse medical care when a baby survives an abortion.”

“When a child miraculously survives this brutal medical procedure, that child’s life must be preserved and treated with great respect and care. The penalty for refusing to provide medical care to an infant struggling for life should be significant,” continued President Galvano. “I am pleased to see the Senate send the clear message that here in Florida, we will do everything we can to prevent the abomination of infanticide in our state.”

SB 404 Requires Parental Consent for Abortion

The consent requirement does not apply if the abortion is performed during a medical emergency when there is insufficient time to obtain consent, or if the minor petitions the circuit court where she resides and receives a judicial waiver of parental consent. The bill also authorizes third degree felony penalties for a physician who recklessly and intentionally performs an abortion on a minor without the required consent as well as any person who provides consent who is not authorized to do so.

SB 404 Enhances Protections for Infants Born Alive

Current law requires any health care practitioner present when an infant is born alive during an attempted abortion to preserve the health and life of the newborn baby. The baby must be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital. A health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, a physician’s office, or an abortion clinic who has knowledge of a violation of these requirements must report the violation to the Department of Health.  SB 404 increases the penalty for violating these requirements from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.