Dressed in pink and armed with signs reading, “Protect Safe, Legal, Abortion”, Planned Parenthood led the protest at Tallahassee’s Capitol, against lawmakers in support of bill SB 404 on Feb. 4. The vote for this bill was set to take place on Feb. 4 and abortions rights advocates demanded their voice be heard prior to the senators’ vote.
“The Florida Senate is voting on SB 404, the forced parental consent bill, and we need to act. We’re doing everything we can to get supporters like you to help stop this bad bill and protect our access to abortion.” Said Planned Parenthood’s website.
In the event they are calling, “Occupy the Capitol to Protect Abortion Access”, Planned Parenthood encouraged advocates from all over the state to show their support. Planned Parenthood’s regional organizer, Aurelie Colon, led advocates in chants aimed at State Sen. Kelli Stargel, who is the bill’s sponsor and Gov. Ron DeSantis who is in support of the legislation.
High schoolers, Jenna Chalfin and Ann-Marie Lannone traveled to Tallahassee from Gainesville as advocates of Planned Parenthood.
“We’re from Gainesville actually, so we just knew each other. But everyone was very friendly and very welcoming and just all about coming together.” Iannone said describing the atmosphere of the days rally.
Iannone predicts this bill, if implemented, could have a very scary impact on young girls especially in cases where a family member is involved in the rape of a minor. “[Having] to get parental consent, it can be very horrifying” she says.
Although Chalfin’s reason for getting involved with planned parenthood had nothing to do with abortion, this bill and its possible effects were very personal to her.
“I’m in a government class now, so it’s something we talk about and debate all the time,” Chalfin shared. “For me it’s personal… I’ve been sexually assaulted six times by different people and it’s always been kind of taboo in my family.”
Planned Parenthood believes this legislation will force minors to go before a judge, who could decide they’re not mature enough to access an abortion but are mature enough to have a child. Consequently, leading to delayed access which will lead to more invasive, expensive and harder to access later-term abortions.
On the other hand, Tim Ellis, a Panama City Beach Captain, is in support of the bill and believes minors should be required to have parental consent in order to receive an abortion.
“I think there should be, only because good parents should be watching their kids,” Ellis said. “I think a precedent should be set.”
The Senate will reconvene Thursday Feb. 6 in hopes of coming to a final decision.