Saturday, April 30, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Florida girl has abortion blocked

A pregnant 13-year-old girl in Florida has been told she cannot have an abortion because she lacks the maturity to make such a decision.

A state court granted an injunction which prevents the girl from terminating her pregnancy.

She is three months pregnant and had planned to have an abortion on Tuesday of this week.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will launch an urgent appeal against the ruling.

This is sad on so many levels. It also underscores why I often have a very hard time with the ACLU. Nothing like vehemently beig in favor of terminating innocent life.

And we should all mark this case down in our mental notebooks, as I predict it will become part of the ongoing judicial wars:

Florida’s department of children and families intervened and took the matter to court, arguing the teenager, who is under the care of the state, is too young and immature to make an informed medical decision. Judge Ronald Alvarez in Palm Beach accepted that argument and has granted a temporary injunction and psychological evaluation, which effectively blocks her from terminating the pregnancy.

It is a case which, once again, plays into the heated and divisive debate about abortion in America.

The judge’s ruling comes in spite of Florida state law which specifically does not require a minor to seek parental consent before an abortion.

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9 Responses to “ACLU to Fight for Thirteen-Year-Old’s Right to Abortion”

  1. Steven L. Says:

    Remember the Supreme Court’s rationale for ending capital punishment for anyone under 18? Part of it was that they are not responsible for their actions at that age.

    Sooner or later, someone will try to apply that here — if she cannot think for herself well enough in that area, can they simultaneously hold that she’s mature enough for this decision?

  2. Steven Taylor Says:

    Good point.

  3. bryan Says:

    The Florida law in question is assinine as well. How is it that you have to have parental permission to perform a simple medical procedure, but not to terminate a life?

  4. whatever Says:

    What’s missing in the story is: how does a 13 year old pay for an abortion? She may not need “consent”, but how does she get access to an abortionist? If she had one scheduled, who was going to pay for it?

  5. Don Singleton Says:

    13 year old Florida girl has abortion blocked
    Comments posted inline

  6. Christopher Cross Says:

    The BBC reporting is fairly thin on facts. Here’s the best link I could find on the facts and some of the legal arguments in the case: here

    The girl has run away at least five times, was a ward of the DCF, and was missing for a month during the time in which she became pregnant.

    According to court documents, “L.G.” lives in a licensed DCF shelter home and learned she was pregnant during a medical exam about two weeks ago.

    “Almost immediately after learning that she was pregnant, L.G. informed the DCF caseworker that she wished to terminate the pregnancy,” the ACLU brief states. She planned to have her abortion Tuesday “with transportation and assistance” from the caseworker, but that morning DCF filed the motion to prevent her from terminating the pregnancy. A DCF official said the caseworker involved was not a DCF employee but was brought in by Children’s Home Society, which does contract work for DCF.After a hearing Tuesday, Circuit Judge Ronald V. Alvarez temporarily barred L.G. from having an abortion, ordering a psychological evaluation to determine her mental condition and whether she would be harmed by terminating the pregnancy or carrying the fetus to term.Marilyn Munoz, spokeswoman for the Department of Children & Families, said the agency had no choice but to stop the abortion, based on a Florida statute that says, “In no case shall the department consent to sterilization, abortion, or termination of life support.”But legal experts and advocates say the actions of the judge and DCF counter state law that allows girls under 18 to have abortions without notifying a parent or guardian and without having to undergo psychological counseling.

    Muddies the waters a bit from the DDC version.

  7. Dan Someone Says:

    So she’s too immature to be able to rationally decide to have an abortion… and therefore, she’s mature enough to have a baby? Or are you suggesting that the state’s proper course of action is to (a) require her to have the baby and then (b) swoop in and take the baby into foster care or put it up for adoption?

    As for your characterization of the ACLU’s position, I don’t think they are “vehemently … in favor of terminating innocent life” so much as vehemently in favor of allowing a citizen to exercise the rights accorded to her under both the Constitution and state law. Do you think if this girl wanted to have the baby, the ACLU would be suing to force her to have an abortion? Not likely.

  8. Jan Says:

    As to whether she will be “harmed” by either having the abortion or carrying the baby to term, I can say with some athority that she will be harmed either way. There is no good answer to a pregnant 13 year old. She is undoubtedly not ready to be a parent at 13 (I was not ready to be a parent at 17) but from what I know from people who have had abortions, they always leave some amount of mental and emotional scarring. However, having a child at an early age is mentally and emotionally scarring as well. There are always “what ifs” either way.

  9. Steven Taylor Says:

    Jan: Exactly the problem.

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