A Florida Appellate Court is forcing a 16-year-old girl to give birth because she is not “sufficiently mature” to decide for herself whether or not to get an abortion.
The teenager, who court documents say is “parentless” had sought court approval to bypass a Florida law requiring anyone under the age of 18 to have parental consent to get an abortion, according to Axios.
The law allows for a minor to petition for a “judicial waiver” to bypass parental consent and the court will allow the minor to get an abortion if she is deemed “sufficiently mature.”
In her petition, the unnamed girl said 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. She also said her legal guardian is “fine with what she wants to do.”
A circuit court judge previously denied her request seeking a judicial waiver, saying she was not mature enough to decide to get an abortion. She then filed an appeal, and the appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision on Monday.
“The trial court found, based on the nonadversarial presentation below, that Appellant had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy. Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision,” the appellate court wrote.
Appeals court Judge Scott Makar dissented, writing that the appeals court should send the case back to the circuit judge for further consideration.
“The trial judge denied the petition but explicitly left open the availability of further proceedings by saying that the ’court finds the minor may be able, at a later date, to adequately articulate her request, and the court may re-evaluate its decision at that time,’” Makar wrote. ”The emphasized language indicates 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.”
But, Judges Harvey Jay and Rachel Nordby argued that sending the case back to the circuit judge was not necessary.
“The trial court’s order and findings are neither unclear nor lacking such that a remand would be necessary for us to perform our review under the statute,” they wrote.