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Fla. Supreme Court strikes down parental notification abortion law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (BP)–The Florida Supreme Court struck down a state law July 10 that required minors to notify their parents at least 48 hours before obtaining an abortion.

The 1999 law, which was signed by Governor Jeb Bush, never went into effect because of the court challenge. The law was struck down by a 5-1 vote and reversed a 1st District Court of Appeals ruling that had upheld the law.

Senior Justice Leander Shaw wrote the majority opinion, saying the law violated privacy rights within the Florida Constitution.

“We recognize that the legal issue of abortion has been one of the most gut-wrenching, emotionally laden issues of the past decades in Florida,” Shaw wrote, according to the Associated Press. “Sitting as a court, however, we cannot be ruled by emotion.”

Justice Charles Wells was the lone dissenter. In 1989 the same court struck down a law that required minors receive parental consent before having an abortion. Wells said there was a difference between notification and consent.

“It is simply logical to me that the community, acting through the state, has an exceedingly compelling interest in having parents parent their children,” Wells wrote, according to The Palm Beach Post. “It is illogical to me, if the state has such a compelling interest in parental responsibility, to conclude that there is not a compelling interest in ‘notifying’ the parent when the child is in a crisis situation.”

Bush also criticized the ruling.

“The court said that the limited rights of privacy that underage Floridians have are more important than the rights of parents to have some say in their children’s’ lives,” he said, according to The Miami Herald. “Put aside all the legal stuff, it is just hard to imagine we live in a society where parents wouldn’t be notified of an abortion.”

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