Why Florida’s Forced Parental Consent Law Will Hit Immigrant Families Hardest

A forced parental involvement law that passed the Florida legislature in February highlights the abortion care roadblocks confronting undocumented teenagers and families.

Florida has a parental notification law, but starting in July, minors who wish to obtain an abortion in the state will be required to produce written permission from a parent who is also required to provide government-issued identification. The ID component can be a tough ask for a lot of people. In a state that bars immigrants without documentation from obtaining a driver’s license or state ID, it can also be an impossibility. (In Florida, undocumented people make up 3.8 percent of the population.)

As it stands, many immigrant teens experience difficulties in accessing reproductive health care. Charo Valero, the Florida state policy director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, said their organization has heard from mixed immigration status families whose children waited months to share the news of a pregnancy for fear that doing so could lead to the deportation of an undocumented parent. Valero predicts the new law will exacerbate the situation.

“If young Latinas/xs have to ask an undocumented parent to sign legal paperwork to access abortion services, they may delay care or forgo care altogether to avoid family separation,” she said in an email.

Of course, teens whose parents have been detained or deported, or those who have arrived in the country unaccompanied, may not even have an adult to turn to. But the new bill also burdens youth whose parents would grant them permission for an abortion but have no legal way to do so. To address this issue, Florida Rep. Cindy Polo (D-Miramar) introduced an amendment that would have removed the parental ID requirement. It failed to pass.

There is noticeable inconsistency in the treatment of teens in the United States. In some situations, adolescents are held to adult standards. Yet in others, they are viewed as children in need of protection.

By Ellen Friedrichs for rewire.news
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