The Florida Senate Judiciary committee today passed the “Parental Notice of Abortion” bill with new language that would restrict which courts a minor has access to when seeking a judicial bypass of parental notification.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said the change was made because he wants to avoid a situation in which young women would be “judge-shopping” when seeking a judicial bypass. He compared the process by which a minor would choose a judge for a bypass to Florida’s “pill mill” problem.
“I think doctor shopping in the pill mill world is wrong,” Hays said. “I think judge-shopping is wrong.”
Senate Bill 1770’s original language said that “a minor may petition any circuit court in a judicial circuit within the jurisdiction of the District Court of Appeal.” The new version restricts access to the “circuit court in which the minor resides for a waiver of the notice.”
Maria Kayanan of the ACLU of Florida said during public testimony that the bill’s language provides one of the “most restrictive bypass statutes” in the country. Only North Dakota has a similar restriction.
Kayanan said that filing from a minor’s home circuit could also possibly expose the identity of the minor. She told the story of one young woman who could not file in the circuit court in which she resided because her mother worked in that court.
Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, echoed that concern. She explained, “In small judicial circuits, the judge knows the parent and the kid.”
Sen. Hays told the committee that he does not want Florida to become “the abortion capital” as well as the “pill capital.”