16-Year-Old Girl Isn't 'Mature' Enough to Get Abortion Without Written OK from Guardian, Florida Court Says

Florida abortion demonstrators
Abortion rights advocates demonstrating last month in Florida, which bans most of the medical procedures after 15 weeks.Getty

The girl, who is parentless, told the court she has no job and the baby's father is not able to help her.

A 16-year-old girl who says she is still in school and not ready to have a baby is not "mature" enough to get an abortion, a Florida appeals court has ruled.

The teen, identified only as Jane Doe 22-B, had submitted a handwritten petition for a waiver of the state's requirement that underage girls must have a written consent from their parent or guardian. The girl wrote that she was parentless and lived with a relative and guardian. 

Her guardian did not oppose an abortion, the girl said.

The teenager had originally sought the waiver in Escambia County court, but Circuit Court Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz denied her petition.

She then appealed her case. This week, three judges on the First District Court of Appeal ruled the the teen did not present "clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy." 

The girl wrote in her petition for a waiver that she is still in school, does not have a job and is not ready to have a baby. "The father is unable to assist," she said. The appellate court ruling said she was 10 weeks pregnant when she asked the court's permission to obtain an abortion.

It wasn't clear how far along she is now. Florida bans most abortions after 15 weeks, under a new law that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, thereby removing constitutional protections for persons seeking abortions.

The appeals court said the girl acknowledged she is not ready "for the emotional, physical, or financial responsibility of raising a child" and "has valid concerns about her ability to raise a child."

The teen said her guardian was "fine" with the abortion, and the court said if that guardian "consents to the minor's termination of her pregnancy, all that is required is a written waiver from the guardian."

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