A Florida court determined that a 16-year-old who is pregnant and parentless must give birth because she was not “sufficiently mature” enough to make the decision to end her pregnancy.
Florida appeals court affirms an order prohibiting a parentless 16-year-old from terminating her pregnancy on the grounds that she has not proved she is mature enough to get an abortion. So the state will force her to have a child instead. https://t.co/1UqnPUErG0 pic.twitter.com/z8uMmAoxub
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) August 16, 2022
On Aug. 10, Circuit Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz ordered the teenager not to have an abortion based on Florida laws which state a minor cannot receive an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.
The teenager, named in court papers as Jane Doe 22-B, was appealing Judge Frydrychowicz’s ruling, but a three-judge panel of the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal supported the judge’s decision.
The court papers state that the teenager was ten weeks pregnant at the time of the first ruling.
The teenager “had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy,” the ruling by Judges Harvey Jay, Rachel Nordby, and Scott Makar states.
“Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision under the deferential standard of appellate review set out (in the consent law),” the ruling continued.
However, Judge Makar wrote that the appeals court should reconsider the case back for the possibility of further consideration based on the teenager’s circumstances.
“The trial judge apparently sees this matter as a very close call, finding that the minor was ‘credible,’ ‘open’ with the judge, and nonevasive,” Makar wrote. “The trial judge must have been contemplating that the minor who was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, would potentially be returning before long — given the statutory time constraints at play, to shore up any lingering doubt the trial court harbored.”
Makar further explained that the teenager is parentless but has an appointed guardian with whom she lives. Makar believes she was responsible enough to conduct her own Google searches “to gain an understanding about her medical options and their consequences.”
“She is pursuing a GED with involvement in a program designed to assist young women who have experienced trauma in their lives by providing educational support and counseling,” Makar wrote. “The minor experienced renewed trauma (the death of a friend) shortly before she decided to seek termination of her pregnancy.”
he explained the teenager insisted she was not ready to be a mother.
“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,’ and the father is unable to assist her,” Makar said.
The “guardian is fine with what [she] wants to do,” according to Makar.
The judge still left the option to re-evaluate the decision if the teen returned to juvenile court.