By Jazmine Santillana
A new Florida bill requiring girls under 18 to have parental permission before terminating their pregnancy would affect FSW’s youngest students.
“To be honest, it’s a good bill just because there are a lot of things we can’t do until we’re 18,” said dual-enrolled Sofia Sanchez, 17. “Why can we have an abortion at 15 but we can’t legally drive at 15?”
Before the parental consent law, Florida had parental notification, where parents were told about their underage daughters’ abortion 48 hours before the procedure.
In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court declared this parental notification law unconstitutional for violating a girl’s right to choose.
Although most of the FSW population are adults, the college has a thriving dual-enrolled population with many high schoolers under 18. A fifth of FSW’s population is dual enrolled.
Dual-enrolled students have a variety of opinions on the bill.
“If [having an abortion] is what they’re going to do then I think they definitely should go through their parents. Their parents should be aware of what they’re doing, you know,” said dual-enrolled Shelbie Birchel, 16. “I feel like their parents should know and it should be the parent’s choice at that point.”
Many FSW girls share Birchel’s view.
“If you’re under 18 there are more rules,” said dual-enrolled Estefany Gama, 16. “I think now sex is so normalized that middle schoolers think it’s okay. On the other hand, I think that if it wasn’t your fault the bill might put more pressure on the people who didn’t want to get pregnant.”
Some older students oppose the bill.
“[Parents] shouldn’t have a say in it. They should be part of the conversation, but they shouldn’t be the one to decide,” said freshman Robert Lee Green, 19.
“I think the bill should be repealed because the parents aren’t going to be the ones taking care of the baby,” said freshman Lisandra Martinez, 19. “It’s going to be the girl having the baby who is.”
“I think [the bill] is kind of dumb honestly,” said sophomore Bernard Cisnero, 21. “It’s going to bring about illegal abortions. It should be up to the person that wants to have the abortion, not the parents.”
“I think [girls] are going to find a way to get abortions illegally rather than telling their parents that they’re pregnant,” said sophomore Angela Leos, 20.
The bill will go into effect on July 1, if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs it.