An unborn baby may be protected from abortion in Florida after a court ruled against a teen who is trying to get a secret abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent.
The Miami Herald reports the Second District Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit by 14-year-old “Jane Doe” who is challenging the new state parental consent law.
The pro-life law, which went into effect July 1, requires girls under 18 to obtain a parent’s consent before having an abortion. The law includes exceptions for medical emergencies and allows a judge to grant permission instead of a parent, a judicial bypass.
Doe, who is living with her 17-year-old boyfriend, requested a judicial bypass, but a court rejected her request and, on Monday, the Second District court agreed, according to the report.
In their ruling, the judges said the teen did not show enough maturity to make the decision on her own. They also questioned her credibility after she gave two conflicting statements about her mother to the court.
“Although she made decent grades in school, her answers to the questioning of counsel and the trial court were vague, and our review of her testimony supports the trial court’s finding that she was unable to articulate her understanding of the procedure, the medical risks involved, and the long- and short-term consequences of her decision,” the judges wrote.
They also pointed to conflicting statements that the girl made about the location of her mother. According to the report, the girl told a circuit court that her mother lived in Guatemala, and she came to the United States with her father. However, in her initial petition, Doe indicated that her mother lives in the U.S.
Here’s more from the report:
During a circuit-court hearing, she testified that her mother lived in Guatemala and that she came to the United States with her father, who would get angry and punish her if he knew she got pregnant, according to the appellate decision. But she also testified that she does not live with her father and doesn’t speak with him because they had changed their phone numbers.
The appeals court pointed to contradictory information from the teen, who said in an initial petition seeking the judicial waiver that she was afraid of her mother kicking her “out of the house.”
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The judges said Doe’s testimony is the only evidence that they have about her parents, and it was “untruthful.”
“As such, she was untruthful with the court in her sworn testimony at the hearing or in her petition, which required her to sign an oath ‘swearing and affirming the truthfulness of the information herein’ under the threat of ‘fines, imprisonment or both.’ This placed her credibility in question,” their ruling states.
Parental consent laws protect young girls. They can help young victims of sexual abuse who may be forced or coerced into an abortion by their abuser. The laws also help protect vulnerable teens from making a hasty, uninformed decision to abort their unborn babies – something they may later regret. Research shows that these laws help save unborn babies from abortions.
Prior to the law going into effect, about 1,500 underage girls had abortions in Florida each year, and about 200 requested judicial waivers so they did not have to tell their parents, according to the Herald.
Currently, 38 states require some form of parental involvement before a minor aborts her unborn baby. Recently, however, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island considered pro-abortion bills to end their parental involvement laws.
Polls show strong support for parental involvement laws. A Gallup poll found 71 percent of Americans favor laws requiring parents’ involvement in a minor’s abortion decision.
Florida state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who sponsored the law, struggled through a teenage pregnancy herself. She said the law will protect young girls and strengthen families.
“I think this is strengthening the family and making sure that when you have those difficult situations that there is a conversation. A discussion,” she said.