2004 Florida Statutes
Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
(1) SHORT TITLE.--This section may be cited as the "Parental Notice of Abortion Act."
(2) DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:
(a) "Actual notice" means notice that is given directly, in person, or by telephone.
(c) "Constructive notice" means notice that is given by certified mail to the last known address of the parent or legal guardian of a minor, with delivery deemed to have occurred 48 hours after the certified notice is mailed.
(d) "Medical emergency" means a condition that, on the basis of a physician's good faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate termination of her pregnancy to avert her death, or for which a delay in the termination of her pregnancy will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
(3) NOTIFICATION REQUIRED.--
(a) A termination of pregnancy may not be performed or induced upon a minor unless the physician performing or inducing the termination of pregnancy has given at least 48 hours' actual notice to one parent or to the legal guardian of the pregnant minor of his or her intention to perform or induce the termination of pregnancy. The notice may be given by a referring physician. The physician who performs the termination of pregnancy must receive the written statement of the referring physician certifying that the referring physician has given notice. If actual notice is not possible after a reasonable effort has been made, the physician or his or her agent must give 48 hours' constructive notice.
(b) Notice is not required if:
1. A medical emergency exists and there is insufficient time for the attending physician to comply with the notification requirements. If a medical emergency exists, the physician may proceed but must document reasons for the medical necessity in the patient's medical records;
2. Notice is waived in writing by the person who is entitled to notice;
3. Notice is waived by the minor who is or has been married or has had the disability of nonage removed under s. 743.015 or a similar statute of another state;
4. Notice is waived by the patient because the patient has a minor child dependent on her; or
5. Notice is waived under subsection (4).
(4) PROCEDURE FOR JUDICIAL WAIVER OF NOTICE.--
(a) A minor may petition any circuit court for a waiver of the notice requirements of subsection (3) and may participate in proceedings on her own behalf. The petition must include a statement that the petitioner is pregnant and notice has not been waived. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for her. A guardian ad litem appointed under this subsection shall act to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The circuit court shall advise the minor that she has a right to court-appointed counsel and shall provide her with counsel upon her request.
(b) Court proceedings under this subsection must be given precedence over other pending matters to the extent necessary to ensure that the court reaches a decision promptly. The court shall rule, and issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 48 hours after the petition is filed, except that the 48-hour limitation may be extended at the request of the minor. If the court fails to rule within the 48-hour period and an extension has not been requested, the petition is granted, and the notice requirement is waived.
(c) If the court finds, by clear evidence, that the minor is sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy, the court shall issue an order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance or inducement of a termination of pregnancy without the notification of a parent or guardian. If the court does not make the finding specified in this paragraph or paragraph (d), it must dismiss the petition.
(d) If the court finds, by clear evidence, that there is evidence of child abuse or sexual abuse of the petitioner by one or both of her parents or her guardian, or that the notification of a parent or guardian is not in the best interest of the petitioner, the court shall issue an order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance or inducement of a termination of pregnancy without the notification of a parent or guardian. If the court does not make the finding specified in this paragraph or paragraph (c), it must dismiss the petition.
(e) A court that conducts proceedings under this section shall provide for a written transcript of all testimony and proceedings and issue written and specific factual findings and legal conclusions supporting its decision and shall order that a confidential record of the evidence and the judge's findings and conclusions be maintained. At the hearing, the court shall hear evidence relating to the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding of the minor.
(f) An expedited confidential appeal shall be available, as the Supreme Court provides by rule, to any minor to whom the circuit court denies a waiver of notice. An order authorizing a termination of pregnancy without notice is not subject to appeal.
(g) No filing fees or court costs shall be required of any pregnant minor who petitions a court for a waiver of parental notification under this subsection at either the trial or the appellate level.
(h) No county shall be obligated to pay the salaries, costs, or expenses of any counsel appointed by the court under this subsection.
(5) PROCEEDINGS.--The Supreme Court is requested to adopt rules and forms for petitions to ensure that proceedings under subsection (4) are handled expeditiously and in a manner that will satisfy the requirements of state and federal courts.
(6) REPORT.--The Supreme Court, through the Office of the State Courts Administrator, shall report by February 1 of each year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the number of petitions filed under subsection (4) for the preceding year, and the timing and manner of disposal of such petitions by each circuit court.
History.--s. 1, ch. 99-322; s. 5, ch. 2002-55.