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Florida Court Rules Parentless Pregnant Teen Not 'Mature' Enough To Get Abortion

Florida Court Rules Parentless Pregnant Teen Not 'Mature' Enough To Get Abortion
John Parra/Getty Images for MoveOn

A Florida court ruled a parentless 16-year-old was not mature enough for an abortion but was mature enough to be forced to give birth.

The girl petitioned the court to be allowed an abortion without parental consent—as a law signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis two years ago requires—because she is "parentless" as described in court documents.

But Monday a Florida appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that the pregnant 16-year-old was not yet "mature" enough to receive an abortion and must be forced to carry her pregnancy to term.

The ruling sparked countrywide outrage.

The teen had testified previously to Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz that she was not ready to be a mother, had no job and no high school diploma. She was living with a relative while finishing her GED.

She also told Frydrychowicz she had weighed all available medical options and understood the pros and cons of an abortion.

But according to court documents, Frydrychowicz ruled the girl had not established “by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy," a ruling Florida’s First District Court of Appeals upheld Monday.

One judge in the Court of Appeals partially dissented to the Court's ruling, Scott Makar, wrote the case should be returned to the trial court.

He urged the teen to make her case again, particularly because the teen had previously indicated her legal guardian "was fine" with her decision to terminate her pregnancy, which would make her request for an abortion within Florida's legal boundaries.

On Twitter, the teen's case left people outraged and disgusted.

Makar also noted in his dissent the girl had checked a box on a form declining her right to an attorney and suggested the case may have gone different if she'd been adequately represented.

The expectation a child should know how to properly file court documents for herself and be prepared to be a mother, but not to decide to not be a mother only underlined the hypocrisy of abortion bans like Florida's.