- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2004

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued yesterday to block a Florida ballot measure that would pave the way for a law requiring parents to be told when their minor daughters seek abortions.

The lawsuit argues that the ballot summary for the proposed constitutional amendment is misleading — leading voters to think that they’re preserving rights when, in fact, the measure takes them away.

State lawmakers voted in the spring to put the proposed constitutional change before voters. The ballot summary says state lawmakers “shall not limit or deny the privacy rights guaranteed to minors” under the U.S. Constitution.

The summary doesn’t explain that the state constitution gives Floridians greater privacy rights than the federal Constitution and that the proposed change would limit those state rights for girls younger than 18, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and several Planned Parenthood Federation of America chapters.

The measure was designed to allow lawmakers to pass a law requiring that parents be told when their minor daughters seek abortions.

Lawmakers who want to pass such a law have to change the state constitution first because the state Supreme Court ruled last summer that a 1999 parental notice law violated the state constitution’s privacy provision.

“I think what the Legislature is doing … is to jeopardize the health and the safety and sometimes the lives of young women on the altar of anti-abortion politics,” ACLU Executive Director Howard Simon said yesterday.

Calls to House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and Secretary of State Glenda Hood weren’t returned.

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