Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

zimv20

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Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

Judge asked to reverse decision by state guardian

"Why can't I make my own decision?"

That was the blunt question to a judge from a pregnant 13-year-old girl ensnared in a Palm Beach County court fight over whether she can have an abortion.

"I don't know," Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained Friday.

"You don't know?" replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. "Aren't you the judge?"

Against a backdrop of state and federal efforts to pass a parental notification law for teen abortions, the exchange was typical of L.G.'s pluck as she argued that she had the right and capability to make her own decision, despite a move by the Department of Children & Families to seek a judge's permission for her abortion.

"I think if I want to make the decision, it's my business and I can do that," she told the judge.

The DCF is the teen's legal guardian after she was taken away from her parents for abuse or neglect. State law allows minors to have abortions without notifying their guardians. Experts say the law extends to wards of the state, raising the question of why this girl's decision has ended up before a judge.

DCF Secretary Luci Hadi requested a judge's ruling, according to a department statement released Friday. DCF attorneys filed an emergency motion Tuesday morning, the same day L.G.'s caseworker was prepared to take her to a clinic for the abortion.

"The Department of Children and Families has the custodial responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the child," the department said.

Alvarez had ordered a psychological evaluation to determine L.G.'s mental condition and whether she would be harmed by terminating the pregnancy or giving birth.

The case is now before the 4th District Court of Appeal where it has been fast-tracked after attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency appeal Wednesday, arguing that neither the judge nor DCF should be involved in L.G.'s decision.

While delaying any ruling until the appeals court decides, Alvarez held a hearing Thursday to weigh arguments.

DCF attorney Jeffrey Gillen said he was concerned L.G. was more likely to suffer "detrimental effects" if she underwent an abortion because she had psychiatric or behavioral problems in the past.

L.G., who told Alvarez she had run away at least five times from her youth shelter, maintained, "It would make no sense to have the baby."

"I don't think I should have the baby because I'm 13, I'm in a shelter and I can't get a job," the girl said as Alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.

L.G. laid out different reasons for wanting an abortion.

"DCF would take the baby anyway," she said, but later added: "If I do have it, I'm not going to let them take it."

She also questioned the health risk of carrying the fetus to term.

"Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?" she asked. Alvarez called that "a good point."

Dr. Ethelene Jones, an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, testified earlier in the hearing that abortions are "definitely" safer than full term pregnancies for girls L.G.'s age.

"At her age and at her stage of gestation ... her risk of death from an abortion procedure is about 1 in 34,000," said Jones, who has held positions at Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. "The risk of death in pregnancy is about 1 in 10,000."

(more)
 

Blue Velvet

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Good on her.

"You don't know. Aren't you the judge"? :D

Where's the Romeo with a penchant for minors, then?
 

mactastic

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Oooo I bet Jeb Bush and his presidential aspirations just can't WAIT to jump into this fight against the godless liberals and their 'abortions for everyone' policies!

Seems like their should be no questions. The girl is a ward of the state, and the law says minors can make this decision. How did this case wind up in court anyway? Of course, when did the LAW ever stop a social conservative from taking action? :p
 

ldburroughs

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This is all well and good but who has the unborn child in mind? Both sides are focusing on what is best for their own position at the expense of the unborn child. I'm sure grateful my 15 year old mother decided to have me. If such a decision is left up to a child to decide we all know what could happen. She is likely incapable of seeing the greater picture. She says if she can't abort it she will not give it up for adoption ... hmmm ... I hope we can see the flawed logic in that one. If I can't kill it myself, nobody can have it. Why is she so opposed to putting the child up for adoption if she claims she can't take care of the child? She'd rather kill it instead of giving it a fighting chance. What is the world coming to? Why is she pregnant in the first place? It is a lot more common than most people think. It's a sad state of affairs.
 

mactastic

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ldburroughs said:
This is all well and good but who has the unborn child in mind?
Same thing the fundies said about Schaivo. 'Oh but who has her best interests at heart?' implying that they did. It's not your decision to make, so you have no right to make the decision for her.

Both sides are focusing on what is best for their own position at the expense of the unborn child. I'm sure grateful my 15 year old mother decided to have me. If such a decision is left up to a child to decide we all know what could happen.
Same thing 'could happen' if you let an 18 year old woman make that decision. Are you saying you don't trust women to make the right decision?

She is likely incapable of seeing the greater picture. She says if she can't abort it she will not give it up for adoption ... hmmm ... I hope we can see the flawed logic in that one. If I can't kill it myself, nobody can have it. Why is she so opposed to putting the child up for adoption if she claims she can't take care of the child? She'd rather kill it instead of giving it a fighting chance. What is the world coming to? Why is she pregnant in the first place? It is a lot more common than most people think. It's a sad state of affairs.
If she said she wanted to carry the fetus to term, would you say that she had seen the bigger picture?
 

zimv20

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ldburroughs said:
If such a decision is left up to a child to decide we all know what could happen. She is likely incapable of seeing the greater picture.
did you read any of the statements she made? to me, she seems more clued in than many adults.
 

pseudobrit

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mactastic said:
Same thing 'could happen' if you let an 18 year old woman make that decision. Are you saying you don't trust women to make the right decision?
That's always been the underlying theme of the "pro-life" crusade.

When you poke at their reasoning, what you generally uncover is misogyny.
They feel that the woman should be punished for being a slut by being forced to deal with the consequences of her slutty actions.

Of secondary (if any) importance in their minds is the fetus. It is, for them, an instrument of punishment, not a human being.

You need ask a "pro-lifer" but one question to find out if they're truly concerned about the fetus.
 

zimv20

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pseudobrit said:
Of secondary (if any) importance in their minds is the fetus.
but what if the fetus grows up to be a woman who has an abortion?!?!?
 

pseudobrit

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jsw said:
Which question? I'd love to know....
Ask them if a woman should be forced to bear the child if it's the result of rape or incest. Or if it would endanger her health.

Ask if they'd want their wife or daughter to be forced to carry a rapist's child to term.

If they say, "well of course not, there are exceptions" then you can shove their "it's a human being -- an innocent life that must be protected" right in their face because they never meant it.
 

zimv20

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a question from the other side of the coin: ask them if they think smart, beautiful, talented women should be forced to procreate.
 

mischief

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I'd also like to know why the "pro-life" crowd is seeking to protect in vitro embryos from being used for science as opposed to being indefinately stored or simply destroyed. How is dooming a potential life better than potentially saving thousands (millions) of the living?
 

iindigo

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I guess you could call me pro-life... I don't have the answers to the "what if she's raped?" question, but I have one question:

Does ANYBODY give a crap about the poor baby? How would you like to be the baby in some of these cases?


As someone else said, everyone is focusing on the caretakers and the girl - I agree that there are risks in having the baby, but it just seems people don't value life like they used to...
 

zimv20

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iindigo said:
Does ANYBODY give a crap about the poor baby?
don't make the mistake of thinking that being pro-choice means being pro-abortion. nobody likes it, and everybody wants the number of abortions to go down.

however, for myself and, i imagine, many pro-choice people, the reigning issue is the rights of the mother. it's her body, it's her choice.

i have no say in what the girl in question does with her reproductive system.

and by extension, nor does my government.
 

Blue Velvet

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When emotively-charged words like baby and child are used instead of foetus, then you just know where the discussion is heading.
 

mactastic

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Blue Velvet said:
When emotively-charged words like baby and child are used instead of foetus, then you just know where the discussion is heading.
Yeah, right into the back alleys where the coathangers and tubs full of bleach are... :(
 

takao

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how about doing something to reduce teenage-pregnancies (where the US is still worse than the UK right ;) ) instead of all this flaming against/pro abortions at young age ...

preventing those pregnancies in the first place would be a good idea ;) (i don't know how this girl got pregnant)
how about changing sex-education in schools ? i don't know if this works fine everywhere in the US
 

zimv20

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takao said:
how about changing sex-education in schools ? i don't know if this works fine everywhere in the US
the problem is that there are many (*cough* christian right *cough*) who believe that teaching sex education leads to increased sexual behavior. the solution, of course, is to teach abstinence (bush is a proponent of this).

it's the mushroom theory: keep them in the dark and feed them ****.
 

takao

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zimv20 said:
the problem is that there are many (*cough* christian right *cough*) who believe that teaching sex education leads to increased sexual behavior. the solution, of course, is to teach abstinence (bush is a proponent of this).

it's the mushroom theory: keep them in the dark and feed them ****.
i don't know i hade quite the opposite of such an eduction.. we had it i think at the 6th grade, repeated another stuff in the 7th grade and a whole education camp (3 days of pure boredom, videos we've seen before and endless talks while sitting in circles) and yet if that wasn't enough two years later we repeated some stuff again

personally i haven't found it increasing sexual behaviour ... more of the opposite, because it de-mystified a lot of things ...

no, mactastic, i don't think further help is needed ;)
 

zimv20

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takao said:
we had it i think at the 6th grade, repeated another stuff in the 7th grade and a whole education camp (3 days of pure boredom, videos we've seen before and endless talks while sitting in circles) and yet if that wasn't enough two years later we repeated some stuff again
actually, that's brilliant. repeat it so much that kids become bored with it. just like everything else (e.g. math, english) they don't use.