Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Florida (Temporarily) Comes To Its Senses

I hate to spam my own blog, so this'll be short. Yesterday, a Florida judge finally showed some sense in the state of Bush's brother, and ruled that a 13-year-old girl could decide for herself to have an abortion.

Florida judge approves abortion for 13-year-old Gov. Bush says no further appeal planned

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) -- A judge ruled that a 13-year-old girl at the center of an abortion fight with the state may terminate her pregnancy, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the state will not appeal further.

Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez ruled Monday that the teen, who has been in state custody for four years, would not be physically or emotionally harmed by the procedure. Last week, Alvarez blocked the girl's abortion until a psychological evaluation was completed.

"He ruled that she is competent, that she has made a decision and that she has a right to act on that decision," said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the girl.

It was unclear Tuesday whether the girl, 14 weeks pregnant and known only as L.G. in court papers, had yet undergone an abortion. Calls to the girl's attorneys seeking an update were not immediately returned.

State Department of Children & Families spokeswoman Marilyn Munoz said the agency would "respectfully comply with the court's decision." She declined to provide further details. "We are working for the best interest of the young girl," Munoz said.

The teen became pregnant after running away from the DCF shelter where she lives. "It's a tragedy that a 13-year-old girl would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant and it's a tragedy that her baby will be lost," Bush said in Tallahassee.

The department had argued that the girl was too young and immature to decide for herself to have an abortion. The agency said state law prohibited the agency from consenting to the procedure.

The girl told the judge last week as part of the psychological evaluation process that she wanted an abortion, citing her age and no way to support a baby. The girl's ACLU attorneys argued that Florida law protects a minor's right to choose an abortion.

A measure is moving through the state Legislature to require notification of parents or guardians when girls seek abortion. In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law requiring parents to be notified if their minor daughters seek an abortion.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Conservatives, the party of small government, thinks the government knows better than a person what to do with their own body (I'm having flashbacks to Terri Schiavo again) -- even going so far as to force a child to have a baby. Someone will also have to explain to me why Jeb was trying to say that a 13-year-old girl wasn't responsible enough to decide on an abortion, but was responsible enough to have a child and be a mother. Perhaps because (uh, oh, Jenn, don't open that can of worms again!) Americans simply don't place the kind of emphasis on the responsibility that comes with parenting as they used to? Whatever the reason, I'm glad not everyone in Florida is a complete dolt. Judge Ronald Alvarez, praise be to you and your basic common sense.


Blogger Maureen said...

Sooo...she's to young to decide to abort but not too young to force to carry a child to term when she, in her own words, said she has no home and can't get a job.

There is something lewd here. That not only can a government interfere with the livelihood of a brain-damaged full grown woman, that they have extended their claws to force a mentally capable, but physically immature young woman to give birth under the pretext that life is good and she can always give it up for adoption.

Before we forget, some key medical issues here, that a)being recently pubescent, her hips may not be large enough to vaginally deliver, hence necssitating a cesarian (n.b. a major abdominal surgery, and all its associated complications, for a 13-14 year old) and b)she's homeless AND she's a teenager; how can one anticipate that she can properly sustain her growing self and that of a child?.

In a more cynical view, it's almost as if her body (and livelihood) were used as some sort of sacrifice for the ideology of the religious conservatives, and for the state to get another adoptable baby from.

So when did our bodies become public property?

5/05/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"In a more cynical view, it's almost as if her body (and livelihood) were used as some sort of sacrifice for the ideology of the religious conservatives, and for the state to get another adoptable baby from."

Absolutely -- many Christian conservatives who support legislation like this really do want to save the souls of America -- and they don't care what lives are sacrificed in order to do it.

It's like the Crusades, only the people are getting killed in a war on the home turf and no one is keeping a body count.

5/05/2005 09:52:00 AM  

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