Florida court rules 16-year-old is not ‘mature’ enough to decide abortion on her own
The parentless teen, who is 10 weeks pregnant, lives with a relative, but is in the care of the state’s child welfare agency.
A Florida court has declared that a 16-year-old parentless teen lacks the maturity to have an abortion.
On Monday, per Politico, the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision that the girl had not demonstrated the maturity to choose to get an abortion, despite her wishes. The teenager, who is 10 weeks pregnant, currently resides with a relative, but is in the care of the state’s child welfare agency.
“The minor states that she is sufficiently mature to make the decision, saying she ‘is not ready to have a baby,’ she doesn’t have a job, she is ‘still in school,’” the order states. “And the father is unable to assist her.”
In 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure that makes parental consent a requirement for a minor to get an abortion. Underage teens can go around the requirement by getting a waiver from a state circuit court judge. The teenager in question, identified only as Jane Doe 22-B, is reportedly supported by her guardian in her wish to get an abortion.
According to Politico, about 200 petitions are filed annually by minors looking to bypass parental notification laws. The overwhelming majority are approved by the court, with only about 18 being denied each year.
This teen’s request was first denied by Escambia County Circuit Judge Jessica Frydrychowicz, and her decision was upheld by a three-judge appellate panel. Appellate Judge Scott Makar was the dissenting opinion, and he recommended that the case be referred back to the lower court.
“Reading between the lines, it appears that the trial court wanted to give the minor, who was under extra stress due to a friend’s death, additional time to express a keener understanding of the consequences of terminating a pregnancy,” Makar wrote. “This makes some sense given that the minor, at least at one point, says she was open to having a child, but later changed her view after considering her inability to care for a child in her current station in life.”
There is a time pressure in this case. Abortion is illegal in Florida after 15 weeks due to a new law enacted this year.
Florida House Rep. Anna V. Eskamani echoed the voice of numerous liberals on Twitter, where she opined, ”Lots of cruelty in Florida’s anti-abortion policies: here a panel of judges deemed a teen not mature enough to end her own pregnancy. Instead of trusting and listening to her, the state forces her to give birth.”
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