The Honorable Bill Galvano
The Florida Senate
305 Senate Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
The Honorable Jose Oliva
Florida House of Representatives
513 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Dear President Galvano and Speaker Oliva,
We, the undersigned, are writing to urge the Florida Legislature not to pass HB 265/ SB 404 requiring teens to obtain parental consent prior to receiving an abortion. Our first priority must be to keep our teens safe. This legislation would do just the opposite.
The truth is, most teens already seek the counsel of a parent or guardian when it comes to a decision like this. If they don’t, there’s usually a good reason. That’s why leading health and medical professionals oppose these laws. Parents want to be involved in their teenagers’ lives but good family communication can’t be imposed by lawmakers.
This legislation puts those vulnerable teenagers – those who most need protection – in harm’s way, or forces them to go to court. These teens don’t need a judge, they need a counselor.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 90 percent of 14-year-olds and 74 percent of 15-year-olds surveyed said they involved at least one parent or guardian in their abortion decision. Those young people who didn’t cited that they were worried that they may be thrown out or experience other abuse by their guardian.
One study found that of the young people who do not seek advice from parents, nearly half—45 percent—experience significant negative consequences when a parent finds out about pregnancy, from punishment to abuse to being forced to leave the home.
It should come as no surprise that health care professionals from the American Medical Association, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, the American Public Health Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations of health professionals oppose mandatory parental involvement in abortion decision making.
The American Medical Association recognizes that requiring parental involvement when youth seek sensitive health services can be counterproductive. The Society of Adolescent Medicine recommends adolescents be allowed to give consent for all or some types of health care and to have their confidentiality protected in the provision of that care, and the American Academy of Family Physicians agrees it is essential that adolescents have access to confidential health care.
While each of us has our own strongly held views about abortion I think we can all agree we must prioritize keeping our young people safe. While that may be the intent of this legislation’s sponsors the medical community has established it would, unfortunately, have the opposite effect.
We hope you will take the input of the medical community into consideration as this bill is considered during the legislative session. If there is any additional information we can provide or if you would like to arrange a time to speak with any of our representatives please contact Laura Hernandez at 786-547-0087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your consideration on behalf of Florida’s vulnerable teens.
For our health,
The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
Florida Latina Advocacy Network, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Abortion Federation
ACLU of Florida
Florida Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Health and Justice
Power U Center for Social Change
Florida League of Women Voters
Florida National Organization for Women
UCF College of Medicine Reproductive Health Interest Group
Dr. Rachel Rapkin Presidential Women’s Center
National Council for Jewish Women
Women’s Movement Now Miami Emergency Medical Assistance, Inc. (EMA)
Democratic Women’s Club of Florida
Pinellas National Organization for Women
National Council of Jewish Women Tallahassee Action Team
Broward Pro-Choice Coalition
Jacksonville Chapter of National Organization for Women
League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
Women’s Alliance of Southwest Florida
We Are Here, Antonio Lyons
Gainesville Chapter of National Organization for Women
Generation Action Florida State University
Generation Action Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
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University of Central Florida Generation Action
New College Florida Generation Action
Florida Atlantic University Generation Action
Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus Generation Action
Stetson Generation Action University of Miami Generation Action
Florida Southern College Generation Action
University of South Florida
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