TEEN ACCESS - Mitch Perry

08/02/04

Although Tomorrow is the deadline for getting required signatures into the Secretary of State's Office, right now it appears that there will be eight Proposed Changes to the State's Constitution that Floridians will vote on in November.

But there is already a legal move against one of those amendments.

Today the ACLU and Planned Parenthood announced a court challenge to the language in an Amendment that would require parental notice of a child's abortion.

The Amendment that was put on the ballot by State Legislators and eagerly promoted by House Speaker Johnny Byrd, is designed to supercede a decision by the state Supreme Court.

Last year the Court ruled that a 1999 law requiring doctors to notify parents when girls under age 18 seek abortions violated the privacy provision of the state constitution.

The ballot measure creates an exception to that privacy right. If approved by voters, the Legislature next spring could come back and pass another parental notice law.

Howard Simon is Executive Director of Florida ACLU. He began this morning's News Conference in Miami by saying this was the 3rd Time that the Legislature has tried to tackle this issue- h e says the Courts have ruled against them each time before, and will do so again (roll tape#1 o.q."guaranteeing the right of privacy")

Gene Baker is the President of the ACLU in Miami...Baker, along with her husband and 2 daughters, are also part of the lawsuit ...She says that she'd like to believe that if something like an un-intended pregnancy were to occur to one of her daughters, they would come forward and speak with them....But she fears for those young women who do NOT have that type of relationship with their folks (roll tape#2 o.q."of information")

19 year old Seanna Baker Bradley said a lot of her friends would NOT be able to speak to their parents if they faced a pregnancy (roll tape#3 o.q."for the help things )

Last year, The Florida House Committee on the Judiciary held hearings throughout the state regarding the proposed law......They heard from many parents who wanted the amendment, to preserve their supervisory abilities over their children.

But they also heard from family physicians like Kevin Miller, a family doctor from Venice who said the law would lead to MORE deaths from depression and suicide, as well as more babies thrown in trash bins.

Marilyn Anderson is the Director of Education at Planned Parenthood from South West and Central Florida. She the way to reduce the number of abortions, parents must speak to their children about sexuality and pregnancy prevention. (roll tape#5 o.q."responsible behavior")

Randall Marshall from the ACLU says the way the Amendment is written will dupe voters when they see it on the ballot this November (roll tape#6 o.q."not for the state to decide")

Howard Simon.....

(roll tape#7 "anti-abortion politics")

There IS precedent for this kind of lawsuit...In the fall of 2000, the state Supreme Court removed a constitutional provision that voters had already approved after finding that the ballot language state lawmakers approved was misleading.

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