Florida court BLOCKS teen’s abortion stating lack of evidence that she was ‘sufficiently mature’ for it
The teen, identified as Jane Doe 22-B, has no parents but is in the care of Florida’s child welfare agency and has a guardian
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA: A Florida court upheld a decision on Monday, August 16 that a 16-year-old teen could not obtain an abortion because she lacked the maturity to make the decision of terminating her pregnancy, despite the fact that the parentless teen stated she was not ready to have a child and is still in school. The ruling was upheld by Judge Jennifer J Frydrychowicz of Florida's 1st District Court of Appeals in Escambia County, who was not reassured that the teen had enough maturity to choose abortion.
According to the court's decision, the teen may be forced to give birth to the child. The teen, who has only been identified as Jane Doe 22-B, has no parents but is in the care of Florida's child welfare agency and has a guardian. She is about 10 weeks pregnant and is staying with a relative. Jane is “almost seventeen years old and parentless,” according to the document.
“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 Monday, August 16 court order states. “And the father is unable to assist her.” Before a minor can have an abortion in Florida, the law requires parental consent. However, underage teens can avoid the consent requirement by requesting a waiver from a state circuit court judge.
According to the decision of the appeal court given on Monday, Jane's guardian supports the teen's desire to have an abortion. She is “pursuing a GED with involvement in a program designed to assist young women who have experienced trauma in their lives.” The adolescent is in the custody of Florida's Department of Children and Families until she turns 18 years old.
Jane had demanded a court order approving an abortion about 10 weeks into her pregnancy, as required by Florida law for minors. According to the paper, she sought a "judicial bypass," which typically involves minors who want to bypass parental permission, according to the paper. Her petition asserted that she is mature enough to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy, as required by state law, and that she "'is not ready to have a baby."
Florida court's decision on the denial of abortion to the teen started a heated up discussion on Twitter. Senior writer Mark Joseph Stern shared the court document on Twitter. "I'd like the court to explain how one can be both insufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy AND sufficiently mature to carry the pregnancy to term and raise the child", a user replied.
Florida is forcing a 16-year-old girl to have a baby because they say she is not mature enough to have an abortion. Let that sink in. https://t.co/wSpjn9Cvmu— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) August 16, 2022
I'd like the court to explain how one can be both insufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy AND sufficiently mature to carry the pregnancy to term and raise the child.— Lytham (@blytham) August 16, 2022
Another user wrote, "A Florida court has determined that a 16-year-old is too immature to have an abortion. Yet-somehow-mature enough to become a parent. So they are forcing her to give birth. This is not justice. This is not freedom. This is not the America I want my daughter growing up in."
A Florida court has determined that a 16 year old is too immature to have an abortion— Adam Cohen Lawyers for Good Government #DemCast (@axidentaliberal) August 17, 2022
Yet-somehow-mature enough to become a parent
So they are forcing her to give birth
This is not justice
This is not freedom
This is not the America I want my daughter growing up in https://t.co/yoZMY7YVJy
"This is illegal. By law, if a minor is pregnant, they are automatically considered an adult when it comes to making decisions about the fetus", another wrote.
This is illegal. By law, if a minor is pregnant, they are automatically considered an adult when it comes to making decisions about the fetus.— Will Wilder (@willewilder) August 16, 2022
According to court documents, she is currently unemployed and still in school, and "the father is unable to assist her." And she also recently experienced the death of a close friend. One of the appeals court judges, Judge Scott Makar, wrote in a different opinion that "reading between the lines, it appears that the trial court wanted to give the minor, who was under extra stress due to the death of a friend, additional time to express a keener understanding of the consequences of terminating a pregnancy."
"She had previously expressed willingness to have the child but later changed her mind after considering her inability to care for a child in her current station in life,” Makar wrote. Because the decision was not rendered with prejudice, it remains open to further appeal. Jane “may be able, at a later date, to adequately articulate her request, and the Court may re-evaluate its decision at that time,” the judge wrote.
Furthermore, the teen's affirmation that her guardian was aware and "fine" with her choice to obtain an abortion would mean that all she would have to do is submit a written waiver from the guardian, which would mean that "the minor would not need to invoke the judicial bypass procedure at all." However, Florida's restrictive abortion laws prohibit the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, giving women little time to make a decision.
Frydrychowicz described Jane as “credible,” and wrote she “showed, at times, that she is stable and mature enough to make this decision.” Makar said the court noted the teen “acknowledges she is not ready for the emotional, physical, or financial responsibility of raising a child” and “has valid concerns about her ability to raise a child.”
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