Florida’s new Forced Parental Consent Law was signed by Governor DeSantis on June 30th. Per TBAF Board Member April McGrath, "This law is just another way for the government to interfere with our right to obtain a safe abortion."
For teens who cannot involve a parent or legal guardian in their decision, a judicial bypass is their only resort. However, as the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund learned today, the courts still do not have updated documents for minors seeking a judicial bypass.
Meet Jane, 17 and a senior in high school. On her own, she navigated the internet to find resources to help her terminate her pregnancy.
She spoke with a case manager in Texas, a lawyer in Florida, and then an underground transportation network that would drive her to court, to her appointment, help her pick up her prescriptions and safely deliver her home.
When asked if Jane would be safe at home, all she said was, "as long as no one finds out."
For heightened security, her court appointment was made in a nearby county, and she was picked up in her neighborhood, out of sight from her house.
Despite being assigned an attorney, the hearing on Jane's petition was delayed for over a week. When her petition was finally brought to hearing, the judicial bypass paperwork provided by the clerk was out of date and not reflective of the new law. Jane left the courthouse without the judicial bypass she needed to obtain an abortion.
Fortunately for Jane, a special arrangement was later made for the judge to approve an amendment to her paperwork to acknowledge the new law and the need for an additional waiver for consent, so an additional hearing wasn't required. The amendment was hand delivered to Jane’s chosen clinic.
Jane was lucky to have connected with a group that could provide support despite the multiple hurdles that were placed in front of her.
For teens unable to talk to their parents about their pregnancy, there are options and mutual aid organizations are poised to assist where possible.