In Australia, the government sought advice from doctors about performing an abortion on a teenager in their care without her knowledge or consent. According to ABC News, the teen has a cognitive impairment and became pregnant while at the Yirra House, a government-run secure facility in Darwin.
In December, the Department of Children and Families pursed a possible application to the Supreme Court requesting that the teen gets an abortion. However, the teen wants to keep her baby and turned 18 earlier this month. Additionally, medical staff at the Yirra House said they would refuse to perform the abortion because they don’t believe it’s in the girl’s best interests.
Community social worker David Cole thought the government was out of line by requesting the teen has an abortion. He said, “I’m aware through the community that she is pregnant, and it’s also been brought to my attention that the department was trying to get her to have an abortion. Her journey’s been tough and nothing’s been easy for her. This young girl needs a lot of support. She needs support not only for herself but for this child. It would be nice if that support was provided and she was given the chance to actually try and be a good mother and break that pain cycle for this child.”
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Cole continued, “Arguing and her rights are two different things. She is [now] 18 and she has the right to make that decision that she wants to or doesn’t want to have that child. The fact that she has been failed by the system for quite a long period of time and that failure and that negligence has led to the position that she is in today – that’s the part that I struggle with.”
The department head of the facility, Anne Bradford, said in a statement that the department is required to make parental decisions for children in care to ensure their physical and emotional safety and wellbeing. She added, “Where a decision is particularly significant, i.e. the termination of a pregnancy, the decision is informed by appropriate medical, psychological and legal advice.”
Now Cole is worried that the department will try to take away the teen’s baby once she’s born. “I’d imagine that the department will take her child away from her as soon as it’s born,” he said. Later the department said they “will not have a role in the child’s life unless concerns are raised regarding the mother’s capacity to parent the child.” They said, “If concerns are notified, an assessment will be undertaken to identify any risk to the safety of the child and what actions need to occur to address the risk.”
Jane Sander, an attorney for the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, said medical intervention in cases like these legally complex. She said, “There’s different laws in different Australian jurisdictions. If there’s somebody, a person or carer or medical practitioner, who is really concerned the person or young adult needs some kind of medical intervention but doesn’t have the capacity to consent in their own right they can apply to the court.”
She concluded, “In my experience they go to quite significant lengths to determine whether a young person does have capacity to make their own decisions. They have to be satisfied the person doesn’t have the capacity to consent. They also have to look at what’s in their best interests.”
In a so-called “pro-choice” world, it’s unbelievable that there are people trying force women to have abortions. As LifeNews previously reported, in Nevada a judge decided in November 2013 that a mentally ill woman was unfit to carry her baby. After the judge’s decision, Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith warned, “If a court orders an abortion opposed by the parents/guardians of this woman, and the woman herself (who is not capable of informed consent)-absent clear and convincing evidence that the pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the woman’s life… we will have entered territory once inhabited exclusively by China.” Thankfully, at a later date the judge announced that abortion was no longer being pursed.