Judge rules teen ‘not mature enough’ for abortion – but mature enough to have baby
A Florida court has ruled a 16-year-old girl is not “mature enough” to have an abortion.
ABC News reported that a judge ruled on Monday (15 August) the teen could not get an abortion without consent from a parent or guardian, despite the girl being reportedly “parentless”.
The teen – who was 10 weeks pregnant at the time of the original hearing, and is known as Jane Doe 22-B – was requesting to bypass the Florida law that requires all individuals under the age of 18 to receive parental consent before obtaining an abortion.
According to the ruling, the teen lives with a relative and has an appointed guardian.
Escambia county circuit judge Jessica Frydrychowicz denied the bypass request, however, and a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld the decision.
The ruling read that the teen “had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy”.
One member of the three-judge panel, judge Scott Makar, said the teen was “not ready for the emotional, physical, or financial responsibility of raising a child”, as she did not have a job and the father was unable to assist her.
He added that the case was a “close call” and that the teen “showed, at times, that she is stable and mature enough to make this decision.”
The ruling is now “not final”, as Makar recommended that the teen should be able to return to court to further petition her case.
What are Florida’s laws on abortion?
Florida now has a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, a rule which went into effect on 5 July, after Roe v Wade was overturned. The ban features several exceptions, such as allowing procedures to take place if the pregnancy is endangering the individual’s life.
A separate law bans abortion after 24 weeks.
Earlier this month, Florida governor Ron DeSantis suspended a county state attorney for refusing to enforce a ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
Republican DeSantis announced the suspension of Democrat Hillsborough attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday (5 August), also citing his support for gender-affirming medical care for trans adolescents, which DeSantis opposes.
In the same week, DeSantis called for doctors who performed gender affirming surgery on trans youth to be sued.
“They talk about these young kids getting gender-affirming care,” DeSantis told a press conference on 3 August.
“What they don’t tell you what that is, that they are giving very young girls double mastectomies, they want to castrate these young boys.”
Florida youths and young people across America cannot currently get gender affirming surgery, nor can they obtain permanent hormonal treatment, until over the age of 18.
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