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Byrd wants abortion issue put on ballot

By Associated Press
Published August 13, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - House Speaker Johnnie Byrd said Tuesday he'll push for a constitutional amendment proposal on next year's ballot that would restore a law requiring girls 17 or younger to tell their parents before getting an abortion.

He hopes to get the necessary two-thirds backing, 80 votes, in the House to get the measure moving during this week's special session.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sandra Murman, R-Tampa, who sponsored the original measure four years ago. The House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the new version Tuesday.

"You're either going in the direction of the breakup of the family or in the direction of building up families," Byrd said. "It relates to the very core foundation of our society."

The Florida Supreme Court voted 5-1 in July to strike down the law, saying it violated privacy rights. The law passed in 1999 but was never enforced during the constitutional challenge.

The high court reversed a decision of the 1st District Court of Appeal that had upheld the law.

Gov. Jeb Bush and Senate President Jim King say the issue could wait until the 2004 regular session that starts in March.

However, the governor is "supportive of the measure that would undo what the Florida Supreme Court did," spokeswoman Alia Faraj said Tuesday.

[Last modified August 13, 2003, 01:32:38]

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