Florida court rules that pregnant and orphaned 16-year-old girl is ‘not mature enough’ to decide on whether to have an abortion
- A teenage pregnant and parentless Florida girl may be forced to give birth after a court found she was not mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion
- The 16-year-old will now appeal the decision made by Circuit Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz, a registered Republican
- One judge, Scott Makar, disagreed with the decision and implored the teen to appeal, saying she was ‘credible’ and ‘open’
- The overturning of Roe v. Wade means states have more autonomy to decide whether women have the right to an abortion
A court in Florida has ruled that a 16-year-old orphaned girl cannot have an abortion because she is ‘not mature enough’ to make the decision, it was revealed today.
The teenage girl, who does not have any parents, is now appealing the decision after she was barred from terminating her pregnancy following Circuit Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz’s ruling.
Florida law necessitates the consent of a parent or guardian in the case a girl under 18 wants an abortion. The teenager was 10 weeks pregnant when she brought her case to court.
Despite the teenage girl petitioning that she was ‘not ready to have a baby,’ the court ruled that she also was not mature enough to decide to abort the unborn child.
The ruling by Judges Harvey Jay, Rachel Nordby and Scott Makar states the teenager ‘had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy.’
However, Makar dissented from other judges and wrote the case should be sent back to Frydrychowicz at the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Tallahassee as it was a ‘very close call.’
‘The trial judge apparently sees this matter as a very close call, finding that the minor was ‘credible,’ ‘open’ with the judge, and noninvasive,” Makar wrote.
Circuit Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz ruled a 16-year-old girl could not have an abortion as she did not provide ‘clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy’
The decision was made at the 1st District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, Florida, which oversees much of northern Florida
Judge Scott Makar dissented with his colleagues opinion and said the teen should appeal, commending her effort and bravery for handing in a petition
He continued that he anticipated the teenager ‘would potentially be returning before long — given the statutory time constraints at play — to shore up any lingering doubt the trial court harbored.’
Makar noted the teen had no parents but put in the effort to search on the internet for more information ‘to gain an understanding about her medical options and their consequences.’
He also said the teen is ‘pursuing a GED with involvement in a program designed to assist young women who have experienced trauma in their lives.’
The minor submitted her petition to the court, which she constructed by hand, and insisted ‘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.’
He also noted the teen’s legal guardian, who accompanied her to court along with her case worker, is fine with her decision to abort the baby.
Unfortunately for the teen, Makar said she ‘inexplicably’ checked a box that stated she did not require an attorney, despite one being available to her for free.
Republican appointed-Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all voted to strike down Roe along with Samuel Alito
Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. in June
Scrawled in black and red spray paint on one building in Portland: ‘Death to SCOTUS.’ Another message read: ‘Abort the Court’ (pictured) Protesters posed with the graffiti
Makar commended Frydrychowicz for her conduct during the hearing, and said ‘she asked difficult questions of the minor on sensitive personal matters in a compassionate manner.’
Frydrychowicz is a registered Republican in a state with a Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, meaning it is more difficult for women to get an abortion than it is in Democrat-run states.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade means states have more autonomy to decide whether women have the right to an abortion, and it is becoming increasingly difficult in Florida to get one.
Even before the monumental Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year, DeSantis signed a law forbidding abortion past the point of 15 weeks pregnant, a decision that is now being challenged in court.
Florida Democratic Party spokesman Travis Reuther spoke about the case, saying ‘thanks to Ron DeSantis, Florida is now forcing a teenager to give birth against her will.’
‘That is an appalling and dangerous overreach by the Governor, who claims to represent the ‘free state of Florida,’ but wants to make women’s healthcare decisions for them,’ Reuther continued.
Roe v. Wade: The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade. The landmark ruling legalized abortion nationwide but divided public opinion and has been under attack ever since.
The case was filed in 1971 by Norma McCorvey, a 22-year-old living in Texas, who was unmarried and seeking a termination of her unwanted pregnancy.
Because of state legislation preventing abortions unless the mother’s life was at risk, she was unable to undergo the procedure in a safe and legal environment.
So McCorvey sued Henry Wade, the Dallas county district attorney, in 1970. The case went on to the Supreme Court, under the filing Roe v. Wade, to protect McCorvey’s privacy.
Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court handed down the watershed 7-2 decision that a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment.
In particular, that the Due Process Clause of the the 14th Amendment provides a fundamental ‘right to privacy’ that protects a woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
The landmark ruling saw abortions decriminalized in 46 states, but under certain conditions which individual states could decide. For example, states could decide whether abortions were allowed only during the first and second trimester but not the third (typically beyond 28 weeks).
Among pro-choice campaigners, the decision was hailed as a victory which would mean fewer women would become seriously – or even fatally – ill from abortions carried out by unqualified or unlicensed practitioners. Moreover, the freedom of choice was considered a significant step in the equality fight for women in the country. Victims of rape or incest would be able to have the pregnancy terminated and not feel coerced into motherhood.
Pro-lifers contended it was tantamount to murder and that every life, no matter how it was conceived, is precious. Though the decision has never been overturned, anti-abortionists have prompted hundreds of states laws since then narrowing the scope of the ruling.
One such was the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2003, which banned a procedure used to perform second-trimester abortions.
McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s, when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe
Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe)
Following the ruling, McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s, when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe. McCorvey became a leading, outspoken pro-abortion voice in American discourse, even working at a women’s clinic where abortions were performed.
She performed an unlikely U-turn in 1995, becoming a born again Christian and began traveling the country speaking out against the procedure.
In 2003, she filed a motion to overturn her original 1973 ruling with the US district court in Dallas. The motion moved through the courts until it was ultimately denied by the Supreme Court in 2005.
McCorvey died at an assisted living home in Texas in February 2017, aged 69.
‘The Heartbeat bill’
Multiple governors have signed legislation outlawing abortion if a doctor can detect a so-called ‘fetal heartbeat,’ part of a concerted effort to restrict abortion rights in states across the country.
Under the ban, doctors will be prosecuted for flouting the rules.
Abortion-rights supporters see the ‘heartbeat bills’ as virtual bans because ‘fetal heartbeats’ can be detected as early as six weeks, when women may not even be aware they’re pregnant.
Anti-abortion campaigners have intensified their efforts since former President Donald Trump appointed two conservative justices to the US Supreme Court, hopeful they can convince the right-leaning court to re-examine Roe v. Wade.
Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Louisiana have enacted ‘heartbeat laws’ recently, and Alabama passed an even more restrictive version in May, amounting to a near-total ban on abortion from the moment of conception. Other states have similar legislation pending.
Similar laws has also been passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa and Kentucky, though they have been blocked by courts from going into effect as legal challenges have been brought against them.
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