A 16-year-old Florida girl who sought an abortion has been denied after a judge ruled she is not “mature” enough to make the decision to end her pregnancy.
The teen, who is only identified as Jane Doe 22-B, has no parents, lives with a relative, and is under the care of Florida child welfare officials until her 18th birthday.
Roughly 10 weeks into her pregnancy, Jane requested a court order approving an abortion, which is necessary under a state law restricting abortions for minors. She also sought a “judicial bypass” needed to have the procedure without the written consent of a parent or guardian.
Jane stated that her guardian “was fine” with her decision, but the state law requires that consent to be provided in writing from the guardian.
Circuit Court Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz denied the request. The ruling was upheld by Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals, meaning the teen may be forced to give birth.
Jane’s petition stated two bases for a waiver to the Florida statute, according to the court document. She said that she is sufficiently mature to make the decision, that she “is not ready to have a baby” and that she is “still in school.” The filing also noted that the father is unable to assist her.
Jane — who recently experienced trauma from the death of a friend — is pursuing a GED with involvement in an educational support and counseling program to assist young women who have also experienced trauma in their lives.
“What’s so upsetting about this case is that the minor seeking an abortion is nearly 17 years old, parentless and has suffered trauma,” said retired Miami-Dade child welfare judge Jeri B. Cohen. “She now risks retraumatization by being forced to give birth to a child that she neither wants nor can afford.”
The case comes just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark case Roe v. Wade. Florida passed legislation in April banning abortions after 15 weeks. That law went into effect in July, just weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision.
Jane is able to return to Frydrychowicz’s court to ask that the judge reconsider the ruling. However, she would not be able to have the procedure in Florida once her pregnancy reaches 15 weeks.