The Florida Democratic Party opposes Stargel’s bill, pitching it as the dismantling of abortion rights. But others on the Democratic side see this as a parenting or family issue rather than an abortion one.
Consider what opponents of Sen. Stargel’s bill are fighting for: the “right” of a minor girl to undergo a traumatic, life-changing surgical procedure without her parents’ approval.
State Sen. Kelli Stargel might have found one way to bridge the divide with Democrats in the Legislature — as the Lakeland Republican got good news on her controversial bill that would require minors to obtain consent from at least one parent or legal guardian before having an abortion.
On Wednesday, the news website Florida Politics reported on a recent public opinion poll, which it had commissioned, that showed support for Stargel’s bill running at roughly 63%.
According to the pollster, St. Pete Polls, Republicans comprised just 39% of respondents, while 53% were women.
But as Stargel’s bill, and the companion House measure filed by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, make their way through the Legislature, momentum for this potential law is coming from another unexpected source: Democrats in Tallahassee.
Democratic Rep. Kim Daniels of Jacksonville co-sponsored the House version. Daniels also has told Florida Politics that perhaps six or seven Democrats would side with Republicans in pushing this bill through.
Daniels’s support is rooted in personal experience. At 15 she had an abortion without notifying her parents. She wound up in the hospital afterward because the procedure was botched.
The Florida Democratic Party opposes Stargel’s bill, pitching it as the dismantling of abortion rights.
But Daniels and others on the Democratic side, like Stargel, see this as a parenting or family issue rather than an abortion one.
Many critics of the bill say it’s unnecessary. That’s because teens are having less sex than in generations past, and when they do, more of them use contraception. And even among young women who get pregnant a strong majority of them are confiding in their parents before seeking an abortion. (Florida law already requires parental notification, but not approval.)
But as we have noted previously in this space, we are not aware of any medical treatment available to minors that doesn’t involve parental consent — except abortion.
Why or how that is different eludes us.
We are heartened by the strong public support for Stargel’s bill.
And we applaud Democratic lawmakers like Daniels and Bush who, while not normally supportive of GOP ideas, are willing to reject their party’s platform on this issue and stand up for parents’ rights. It’s a testament to the respect they engender on this matter that House Democratic leader Kionne McGhee has announced that his troops chose not to vote on the Democrats’ overall position on the Stargel-Grall bill. That tells us McGhee is willing to let members on his side vote their conscience.
And when they do, we encourage them to join Sen. Stargel and Reps. Grall and Daniels in supporting parents and their right to help knowingly guide their children through what will be among the most difficult decision of their young lives, regardless of what path they choose.
This guest editorial was originally published in The Lakeland Ledger, a sister newspaper in Gannett Florida.