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.
\u201cA Florida court said a 16-year-old girl is not \u201cmature enough\u201d to get an abortion.\n\nSo they are going to force her to give birth and become a mother. #MobilizeForMidterms #Roevember\nhttps://t.co/98XShs25Zr\u201d— Nick Knudsen \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Nick Knudsen \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1660695169
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.
\u201cA Florida court has denied a parentless 16-year-old permission to have an abortion because she's not "mature" enough. Previously, they denied a 17-year-old an abortion because her GPA was too low. \n\nThe state is forcing these teens to give birth.\nhttps://t.co/lPkDvwdyfX\u201d— Laura Bassett (@Laura Bassett) 1660669414
\u201cThe status of minors in a post-Roe America: Not mature enough to make decisions over your own body, but mature enough to be forced to continue with a pregnancy.\u201d— Rewire News Group (@Rewire News Group) 1660665600
\u201cFlorida court rules teen not 'mature' enough to have abortion\n\nThis is sick and twisted. We are in The Handmaid's Tale. \n https://t.co/AtomKaDAGS\u201d— \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffbAunt Crabby Calls Bullshit \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffb (@\ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffbAunt Crabby Calls Bullshit \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffb) 1660744937
\u201cLots of cruelty in Florida\u2019s anti-abortion policies: here a panel of judges deemed a teen not mature enough to end her own pregnancy.\n\nInstead of trusting and listening to her, the state forces her to give birth. \n\nhttps://t.co/FQGwIHHfeT\u201d— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani \ud83d\udd28 (@Rep. Anna V. Eskamani \ud83d\udd28) 1660618186
\u201c@mjs_DC The conc/dissent of Judge Makar highlights the particular outrage of the majority decision. It's clear the trial court judge expected that the minor would be able to return to her court to supplement her presentation. There is no basis for the appeals ct to refuse the remand.\u201d— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern) 1660658530
\u201cA teenager isn\u2019t \u2018mature\u2019 enough to have an abortion, but is mature enough to raise a child?\n\nThis is why we need common sense leadership back in Florida.\nhttps://t.co/JJ9wzmlZiR\u201d— Daniel Uhlfelder (@Daniel Uhlfelder) 1660754365
\u201cIt is devastating to know that in Florida, a child is "sufficiently mature" enough to go through childbirth but not mature enough to receive an abortion. Sadly, this is how legislators think, and not just in FL. This type of control is happening to teen girls around the country.\u201d— National NOW (@National NOW) 1660841502
\u201cNot mature enough for an abortion, but mature enough to have a baby. This is sick. https://t.co/mrXE1RNLIX\u201d— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta) 1660767606
\u201cThis is a civilisation in collapse.\n\nFlorida court says teen is not \u2018mature\u2019 enough to have an abortion, so a girl not considered up to a simple medical procedure will just have to raise a human baby to adulthood entirely on her own with no family instead. https://t.co/Mo7Jdf46aw\u201d— Van Badham (@Van Badham) 1660822968
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.