by Steven Ertelt
May 5, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL (LifeNews.com) — A 13 year-old Florida teenager in state custody had an abortion on Tuesday after the state gave up its efforts to prevent her from having one. State officials had previously argued the foster teen could not be granted an abortion under state law.
Howard Simon, an attorney for the pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union, declined to discuss the abortion with the Knight Rider news service, saying only that "the case is over both medically and legally."
Officials at the Florida Department of Children and Families had hoped to prevent the abortion, but Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Ronald Alvarez reversed an initial decision and allowed it to move forward.
Yesterday, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and DCF officials announced they would not appeal the decision.
Still, Bush said it was a "tragedy that a 13-year-old child would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant and it’s a tragedy that the baby will be lost. There’s no good news in this at all."
The teen, known only as L.G. in court documents, was removed from her parents’ custody about four years ago after charges of abuse and neglect. During her itme in the state’s foster care system, she has run away on numerous occasions. In her latest escapade, she became pregnant.
The teen’s mother told WPEC-TV that she would have preferred to see her daughter come home and said she would have helped her raise the baby.
"I would like to see my daughter and her child come home where I can help her and be a mother like a mother should be able to be for her child," she said.
"The way I’ve always been raised, if you’re old enough to do what you’re not supposed to do, you’re old enough to pay the consequences and take care of the child," she explained.
Pro-life groups are upset by the situation and say the judge failed to consider the physical and emotional damage an abortion has on teens.
"We have two victims," Lynda Bell, of Florida Right to Life, told Knight Rider. "We have a 13-year-old who has been victimized, as well as her baby."
Teenagers in Florida’s foster care system routinely receive abortions, according to a KRT interview with Cindy Lederman, Miami’s chief juvenile judge who administers cases involving foster care and adoption.
"I have done this for 10 years," Lederman said. "If a child wishes to have an abortion, she gets an abortion."
Bush said he was concerned at learning that abortions on foster care teenagers happen routinely.
"If that’s the case, and it happens all the time, I’m not aware of that," Bush said. "It’s very troubling that children are put in a position, irrespective of whether they’re in the custody of the state, where they feel compelled to have an abortion. It’s a sad fact and there’s an added responsibility when the state has some degree of responsibility over the well-being of that child."
Ken Conner, the former president of the Family Research Council and Governor Bush’s attorney in the Terri Schiavo case said DCF could not have prevailed in the case to stop the abortion.