Florida court rules teen is not 'mature' enough to have an abortion

Charisa Bossinakis

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Florida court rules teen is not 'mature' enough to have an abortion

Featured Image Credit: Simon Dack / Alamy Stock Photo.REUTERS / Octavio Jones / Alamy Stock Photo

A Florida appellate court has blocked a 16-year-old high school student from getting an abortion, citing that the teen isn’t ‘mature’ enough to make the decision.

Rolling Stone reports that the unidentified teen was ruled not ‘mature’ enough by Circuit judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz, which prompted her to file an appeal. 

However, the appellate court upheld the previous decision.

Judges Harvey Jay, Rachel Nordby and Scott Makar said that the teen had ‘not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy’.

According to court documents, the teen was 10 weeks pregnant and is in the care of Florida’s child welfare agency but is currently living with a relative.

They added: “Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision under the deferential standard of appellate review set out (in the consent law).”

However, Makar said the case needed further consideration and be reviewed by Frydrychowicz once again as the teen is parentless and insists the father cannot care for her child.

He also noted that the teen’s current guardian is ‘fine’ with her decision to get an abortion.

Under Florida law, a minor cannot be granted an abortion unless they provide proof of consent from a parent or guardian.

A health provider can perform the procedure without parental consent unless deemed a medical emergency.

 Credit: Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS/Alamy Live News
Credit: Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS/Alamy Live News

A minor can also be granted an abortion without a signature from a parent or guardian if they present the court with a ‘judicial waiver’, where they prove they are mature enough to move ahead with the procedure.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, at least 36 US states require permission from a parent or guardian for a minor to have an abortion. 

Florida is also one of six states where the parent must be notified of the teen’s intent before they move ahead with the procedure.

Human Rights Watch reports that most teens under the age of 18 voluntary involve a parent or guardian in their abortion decision ‘even if the law doesn’t require it’.

They added: “But for those who don’t—often because they fear abuse, deterioration of family relationships, being kicked out of the home, or being forced to continue a pregnancy—laws like Florida’s pose a barrier to their care.” 

Topics: News, Politics, Health

Charisa Bossinakis
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