Florida court rules teenager ‘not mature enough’ to have abortion

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters

A pregnant teenager will be blocked from getting an abortion, a Florida court ruled on Monday.

The 16-year-old initially petitioned to terminate her pregnancy, citing being a student and unemployed as reasons she is unprepared to have a baby.

A court ruled she was not mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion, blocking her from getting one.

Related: Nebraska teen and her mother charged for aborting and burying fetus

“The trial court found, based on the non adversarial presentation below, that Appellant had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy,” the decision read.

Though the teen appealed the decision, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision.

In order for a minor to get an abortion in Florida, they must provide a physician with written consent from a parent or legal guardian, or request a waiver. The teenager explained her father is unable to assist her and that her “guardian is fine with what [she] wants to do”.

In court documents, one judge, Scott Makar, acknowledged the trial judge viewed “this matter as a very close call”.

He said: “The transcript demonstrates that the minor was knowledgeable about the relevant considerations in terminating her pregnancy along with four other statutory factors. She had done Google searches and reviewed a pamphlet (that she and a family member got from their visit to a medical clinic) to gain an understanding about her medical options and their consequences.”

The teen’s case is a result of the US supreme court in June overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 case that gave Americans the constitutional right to an abortion. Abortion laws are now left up to states. Since the supreme court decision, Florida banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, without exceptions for rape or incest.

Still, Florida’s abortion laws are less restrictive than neighboring states, including South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana – which have either banned abortions after six weeks, or altogether.

For now, the teen is unable to access an abortion in her home state and must continue her pregnancy.