Parentless Florida teen not ‘mature’ enough to seek abortion, court rules
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A pregnant Florida 16-year-old was denied an abortion for a second time this week, after a state court of appeals said she didn’t present evidence she was “mature” enough to make the decision.
Now, the teen, who is parentless and says she isn’t ready to have a child, may be forced to become a mother.
The girl, identified only as Jane Doe 22-B, who was 10 weeks pregnant as of August 10, appealed a previous court decision made by Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz. That ruling blocked her from getting an abortion without parental consent, despite the teen being parentless.
In her petition, a “judicial bypass” that would grant her the ability to act without parental requirements, the girl said her appointed guardian “is fine with what she wants to do.” In that case, all the guardian would have needed to do is submit a written waiver allowing Jane to have the pregnancy terminated.
In a handwritten petition to the court, the girl explained she doesn’t have a job, is still in school and that the father can’t help with child care. She added that a close friend had also recently died.
On Monday, however, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals upheld Frydrychowicz’s ruling that the girl didn’t show convincing evidence she was “sufficiently mature to decide” to abort her pregnancy.
One of the ruling judges, Scott Makar, only partially concurred with the ruling.
Makar wrote in the court’s decision that Jane had displayed maturity based on trial records and noted that she explained she’s “not ready to have a baby.”
He cited Frydrychowicz’s own statement calling the girl “credible” and said court transcripts showed Jane Doe 22-B had done Google searches to become more knowledgeable about the pregnancy and her medical options.
Makar added that Frydrychowicz left the decision open-ended, making it possible for Jane to try again “at a later date.” He added that, based on his understanding, Frydrychowicz saw the decision as a close call and just needed more evidence.
“Given the open-ended nature of the order reflecting the trial judge’s willingness to hear from the minor again – and the time pressures presented – I would remand the case to the trial court,” Makar wrote.
The other two judges, Harvey L. Jay III and Rachel E. Nordby, ruled that sending the case back to the trial court was not necessary.
Jane can now try to appeal the ruling again, but the court file doesn’t specify when she became pregnant, meaning that she may run out of time due to Florida’s now-enacted 15-week abortion ban. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill back in April — months before the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic overturn of Roe v. Wade, which operates on the federal level.
Earlier this month, DeSantis suspended state attorney Andrew Warren for refusing to enforce the abortion ban, citing “neglect of duties” as covered under Florida’s state constitution.
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