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  • Jacob Ogles, Florida Politics

Erin Grall files House version of parental consent bill

Vero Beach lawmaker successfully passed legislation through House in 2019 Session.

State Rep. Erin Grall will once again champion a parental consent requirement before minors get abortions.

The Vero Beach Republican filed legislation (HB 267) on Tuesday that would set up penalties for doctors performing abortions without one parent’s or guardian’s permission.

Grall sponsored a similar measure in the 2019 Legislative Session, and got it passed in the House. She argued at the time it’s wrong for a girl to be able to undergo a major medical procedure without a parent involved in decision-making.

Florida law today requires parents or guardians to be notified when a minor has an abortion, but girls can elect for an abortion with or without a parent’s consent.

“Parents have a fundamental right in the upbringing of their children,” Grall argued before the House Health Quality Subcommittee earlier this year.

Like last year, companion legislation has been sponsored by state Sen. Kelli Stargel. The bill stalled in the Senate last session, advancing through the Health Policy Committee with a narrow 5-4 vote, but no further.

Critics of the legislation say it ignores a 1989 Florida Supreme Court decision, In re T.W., that threw out a previous parental consent requirement.

But the old law did not have provisions allowing girls in specific, dangerous situations to seek an exemption to the consent requirement.

Grall and Stargel both have included a process in their bills allowing girls to petition the courts to bypass the requirement to obtain a guardian’s permission.

The lawmakers filed related legislation in each chamber also providing a public records exemption stopping public release of the identified of girls who obtain such an exemption.

The bill has been a priority for Grall, an anti-abortion Catholic lawyer. The parental consent bill is the first she filed for the 2020 Legislative Session, followed by the related public records bill.

The legislation last year was a high priority for social conservatives, with Susan B. Anthony List lobbying heavily for a Senate vote.


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