Home Financial responsibility Florida court tells 16-year-old girl she’s not ‘mature’ enough to have an abortion

Florida court tells 16-year-old girl she’s not ‘mature’ enough to have an abortion


“Jane Doe 22-B” is 16 years old, pregnant and without parents, and is seeking legal circumvention to obtain an abortion in the State of Florida. She is pursuing a GED through a program specifically designed to help young women who have experienced trauma. She has no job and cannot count on her father to help her. She told a judge, according to court documents, that she was ‘not ready to take on the emotional, physical or financial responsibility of raising a child’ and ‘has valid concerns about her ability to raise a child. “. Nevertheless, a Florida appeals court recently upheld a ruling that Jane “failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that she was mature enough to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Jane’s initial request for an abortion was initially denied by Escambia County Circuit Judge Jessica Frydrychowicz and upheld by a three-judge appeal panel consisting of Harvey Jay, Rachel Nordby and Scott Makar , the latter of which partially disagreed with the opinion even as he simultaneously partially agreed and sheds light on what he believes motivated Frydrychowicz’s decision.

“The trial judge denied the motion but explicitly left open the possibility of further proceedings,” Makar wrote. “Reading between the lines, it appears the trial court wanted to give the minor, who was under additional stress due to the death of a friend, additional time to express a better understanding of the consequences of a hiatus. of pregnancy.”

Florida has fewer abortion bans than neighboring states, but it has become increasingly restrictive under Governor Ron DeSantis.CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

He went on to point out that Jane, who was ‘inexplicably’ unrepresented by a lawyer, has the right to pursue her right to terminate her pregnancy, especially in light of Jane’s report that her guardian supports her decision. .

“Given the open-ended nature of the order reflecting the trial judge’s desire to rehear the minor – and the time constraints presented – I would refer the matter back to the trial court,” he said. he writes. “If the guardian of the minor consents to the termination of the pregnancy of the minor, a written waiver from the guardian suffices. (…) Such a written waiver would be self-executing, which means that the minor would not need to invoke the judicial circumvention procedure at all.

As of 2020, Florida is one of six states that require minors to obtain notarized parental notification and consent in order to have an abortion, although asking the courts for a “court bypass” is one option in which a minor would not have to inform his parents/guardian. . According to Politico’s analysis, the vast majority of these judicial overrides – about 91% – are granted. Jane lives with a parent, but has a guardian appointed by Florida child welfare authorities, who Jane says supports her decision to terminate her pregnancy, but it appears she did not provide consent official writing. (This is most likely the result of Jane’s guardian being more legal in nature rather than someone she lives with and can easily ask for help.)

But even if Jane is able to pursue this course of action, time is running out. After 15 weeks, abortion is illegal in the state of Florida (although this law is currently being challenged in court), and surrounding states are even more inhospitable to abortion rights.