Florida lawmakers are considering Florida Senate Bill 404, which would make it even more difficult for young people seeking abortion to get the care they need in Florida.

Florida law already imposes a barrier to young people’s access to abortion care, but SB 404 would make that requirement even harsher. SB 404 is a thinly-veiled effort to further restrict abortion access in Florida and would do nothing to improve young people’s health care; instead, it would only create additional barriers and delays.

In fact, there has been no demonstrated need for this legislation, which makes sense, because it’s not really about parental advice or guidance – it’s about anti-abortion politicians* setting up restrictions that get in the way of young people getting the health care they need. It should also 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.

We should all be able to agree that young people should have the support and information to make important decisions that are best for their health, lives, and future opportunities. Ideally, a young person who faces an unintended pregnancy is able to seek the advice of a parent. And if, for whatever reason, a young person cannot go to a parent, they should be able to turn to a trusted adult and get the health care and information they need.

The reality is that no law can force healthy family conversations. Forced parental involvement laws – especially those that exacerbate existing parental involvement restrictions – threaten the health, dignity, and safety of young people’s access to health care, and undermine young people’s ability to make important decisions about their health and live. This attempt to add additional parental involvement requirements to Florida law could make the situation worse for Florida young people, not better.

*The primary sponsor of the bill, Senator Stargel, is the senator behind a number of other anti-abortion bills, including a bill that would block state funding for non-abortion services at clinics that also provide abortion, a bill that would create a private right of action for people who have abortions to sue their doctors for “emotion distress” up to a decade after the procedure, and a bill that created medically-unnecessary, targeted regulation of abortion providers.
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