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Reproductive rights groups challenge Florida parental consent law

[JURIST] The Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy website; press release] and Planned Parenthood Federation of America [advocacy website; press release] have filed a federal suit claiming Florida's new Parental Notice of Abortion Act [text], taking effect July 1, can delay emergency treatment to girls. The Act, signed by Governor Jeb Bush [press release] in May and implementing a constitutional amendment [Vote Smart summary] passed by Florida voters in November 2004, requires doctors to phone or meet with parents 48 hours before a girl under the age of 17 has an abortion, unless that girl is married or already has a child. If such notification is not possible, the doctor can use certified mail 72 hours before the procedure. The law also provides a bypass of the requirements if the doctor determines there is not enough time to comply, and a judge can grant a waiver based on the patient's best interest, her level of maturity, and past abuse by her parents. According to state Senator Paula Dockery [official website], a sponsor of the bill, its wording already addresses the organization's concerns. The US Supreme Court is scheduled to address the requirement of health exceptions in abortion laws this fall in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England [Duke law backgrounder]. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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