Mature Enough? At Age 13?????
By JILL BARTON
Associated Press Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The state's social services agency went to court to block a 13-year-old girl who is pregnant and living in a state shelter from having an abortion, and the girl wants to challenge the judge's decision.
The ACLU filed an emergency appeal on Wednesday asking a judge to overturn the ruling that would essentially force the girl to become a mother, said Howard Simon, the organization's executive director for Florida.
The girl, named L.G. in court documents and described as a longtime ward of the state, learned she was pregnant two weeks ago and had planned to have an abortion Tuesday. Her caseworker arranged for transportation and help for the girl.
But the state Department of Children & Families asked a Palm Beach County juvenile judge Tuesday morning to block the abortion. The agency argued that L.G., who is 13 1/2 weeks pregnant, was too young and immature to make an informed medical decision, according to the appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
A judge granted a temporary injunction to block the abortion and ordered a psychological evaluation of L.G.
L.G.'s appeal cites Florida law that protects a minor's decision to decide on an abortion.
In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law requiring parents to be notified if their minor daughters seek an abortion.
Florida's high court also cited state privacy rights in 1989 when it tossed out a law that would have required parental consent for a minor's abortion.
"DCF and the circuit court have instituted a process whereby the state will make a decision for L.G. based upon its own evaluation of her best interest. This it cannot do," the appeal said.
DCF spokeswoman Marilyn Munoz said state law prohibits the department from consenting to an abortion for a minor in any instance.
"If a child in our care requests to have any procedure prohibited under Florida statute, we cannot give consent," Munoz said. "It's not our decision. "We stand in different shoes. We're held to a higher accountability."
"If she's not old enough yet to decide if she should have a tattoo, or drive, or vote, how in the world is she old enough to make such an important decision on her own?" Kottkamp said.
But Rep. Anne Gannon, D-Delray Beach, said she doesn't think DCF should be making such a decision.
"I think this is merely the governor playing politics once again," she said.
"I think that a 13-year-old who is mature enough to make the decision to have sex is mature enough to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy," she added. "The reality is, I don't want 13-year-olds having sex. But I want them to have access to accurate information and education."
Mature enough to make the decision to have sex? HELLO!? Obviously she is NOT mature enough to make that decision, is she? IT WAS A BAD DECISION! DUH! That kinda explains your not wanting 13 year olds having sex, doesn't it? If they mare mature enough to make the decision to carry a gun to school then are they mature enough to decide weather or not to use it? Give me a BREAK!