Carrie J. Eisnaugle: The importance of saying Yes on Amendment 6
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
Florida voters have several important opportunities before them in the November election. The opportunity to vote “Yes” on Amendment 6 is one I consider particularly important. Those opposed to this amendment will fall back on the tired arguments that it discriminates against women and infringes upon privacy rights. But if you read the amendment you will see that nothing could be further from the truth.
Amendment 6 would simply adopt an existing federal provision, known as the Hyde Amendment, that prohibits funding abortion with tax dollars. Just like the federal law, Amendment 6 will not prohibit funding abortions in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
Amendment 6 confirms what several national surveys report, that the majority of Americans, whether pro-life or pro-choice, believe it is wrong for government to pay for abortions. Precious health care dollars should be allotted to life-saving care for those who need it most.
Passage of Amendment 6 will also allow a future Florida Legislature to pass legislation restoring parental rights in Florida that were struck down by the Florida Supreme Court in 1989. In Florida, it is currently illegal to require parental consent before a child receives an abortion, even though laws requiring parental consent have been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a mother, I believe parents should always be involved in important decisions affecting their children. Parental consent is already required for even relatively mild invasive physical procedures like tattoos or body piercing. However, a full chemical or surgical procedure like an abortion with the potential for permanent health or psychological damage is exempted from this protection in Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized parental consent, yet parents in Florida are prohibited from giving consent for their minor child’s abortion based on the current interpretation of the “right of privacy” in our state Constitution.
Research at Harvard Medical School, the National Institute of Mental Health, and UCLA, among others, regarding the development of the brain from childhood to adulthood, has shown that the part of the frontal lobe that controls impulses, anticipates consequences and prioritizes thoughts continues to develop into a person’s early 20’s. This is one reason why states put age limits for minors on activities that will have harmful health effects, such as drinking and purchasing tobacco products. Adolescence is marked by changes in hormones, emotions and body development, and parents should be allowed to guide and counsel their child through this transition to adulthood.
The unique role parents play in the lives of their children, protecting and nurturing them as they grow, has long been held in high regard by our community. The law protects a parent’s right to direct their child’s education, health, and general welfare. It also holds them accountable should they fail and neglect this critical responsibility. The state should never interfere with the fundamental right of parents to care for their children.
Floridians who believe, like me, that parents should be involved in medical decisions affecting their minor children, and who agree that government should not spend public funds on abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, as already provided in federal law, should join with me in voting “Yes” on Amendment 6. It is the right and responsible thing to do.
Carrie J. Eisnaugle,
Florida Right to Life