A panel of Florida judges ruled Monday that a parentless 16-year-old failed to prove she’s mature enough to get an abortion—leaving her to give birth and, potentially, raise a child instead.
The anonymous 16-year-old, who lives with a relative, is currently pursuing her GED and dealing with the recent death of a friend, according to court papers detailing the judges’ ruling. A trial judge decided that she was “credible” and “open,” and acknowledged that “she is not ready for the emotional, physical, or financial responsibility of raising a child.”
Still, that judge rejected her request to end her pregnancy anyway. The Monday ruling, from three judges from Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals, affirmed that rejection. Although one judge wanted to send the case back to the trial judge for review, two others said that wasn’t necessary.
The plaintiff in the case was denied an abortion even after stating her legal guardian “is fine with what [she] wants to do,” Makar noted. If the guardian had stated that in a written waiver, it would have allowed Doe to obtain an abortion without going to court. It’s unclear why she sought the court’s permission instead of her guardian’s, and whether seeking her guardian’s written permission could be a way for her to still terminate her pregnancy.
She met with Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz, along with a case worker and a child advocate, but “inexplicably” did not request a lawyer who would have represented her for free, the ruling states.