Decisions Mixed on Requests for Parental Notification Waivers in Fla. Appeals Court

June 9, 2014 — A Florida appeals court in the past two weeks has decided two cases stemming from the state's 2004 constitutional amendment requiring parental notification before a minor can receive an abortion, News Service of Florida/WUSF News reports.

The amendment and subsequent laws created a process for minors who do not wish to notify their parents to go to court to request a "waiver" that exempts them from the requirement.

Both recent cases were appeals of circuit court decisions on such waivers.

Case Details

In one case, a state appeals court panel overturned a Hillsborough County circuit judge's ruling that denied a request from 17-year-old high school student, identified as Jane Doe, to receive an abortion without her parents being notified.

"Jane Doe is almost eighteen years old and a high school honors student" and "testified that her current condition would impact adversely her future plans," the court said in the majority opinion. The judges added that she "also testified that her parents were strict, controlling, and demanding. At times they acted out of spite toward her. She feared that they would disown her if notified of her pregnancy."

In the other case, a separate panel from the same appeals court denied a minor's request for a waiver (News Service of Florida/WUSF News, 6/4). The panel said the circuit court appropriately considered the criteria for a waiver -- including that the minor display advanced maturity or that notifying her parents would not be in her best interest -- and correctly denied the request (Palombo, News Service of Florida/WUSF News, 5/28).