Thursday, April 28, 2005
But, George, Do You Think The Children Will Be Safe Without Nana?
As a 13-year-old Palm Beach County girl prepared this week to end a pregnancy she says she does not want, the Florida Department of Children and Families went to court to stop her from having the abortion.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the state's position Wednesday, saying DCF is overstepping its authority and violating the girl's constitutional rights.
The girl, identified only as L.G., lives in a shelter for abused and neglected teens and found out two weeks ago during a doctor's appointment that she is pregnant. Soon after, she told her DCF caseworker in Palm Beach County that she wanted an abortion.
The caseworker scheduled an appointment for the girl to have an abortion Tuesday and planned to drive her to the office, according to an appeal filed by the ACLU. On the same day, lawyers for DCF filed an emergency motion to stop L.G. from terminating her pregnancy.
In a hearing that day before Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Alvarez, the state argued that Florida law gives DCF authority to prevent L.G. from having an abortion. The state said the girl was not able to make an informed decision because of her age and immaturity, according to the appeal filed Wednesday by the ACLU.
The Supreme Court has established that nobody has the right to determine L.G.'s best interests but L.G. herself, the ACLU argues.
L.G., who is 13 weeks pregnant, does not believe she can care for herself or a child, said Bob Bertisch, the director of Palm Beach County's Legal Aid Society.
The girl has received counseling from a women's health clinic, talked about her decision with responsible adults and knows the medical risks of abortion, the ACLU and Legal Aid Society wrote in the appeal.
The ACLU asked the courts to act quickly. As she moves into the third month of her pregnancy, the abortion will become more risky, they said.
L.G.'s case continues a debate that started in 2003, in the case of J.D.S., a severely retarded women who was raped in a state group home. Gov. Bush intervened in that case, asking that the state be allowed to appoint a guardian to speak for the best interests of the fetus. The courts rejected his efforts as unconstitutional.
J.D.S. ultimately carried the baby to term, and a family adopted "Baby Grace."
Bush's critics argued that the state should have been more worried about how J.D.S. was raped in the first place, and they pointed out that she herself did not have a guardian until the pregnancy.
ACLU attorney James K. Green echoed those criticisms in the case of L.G. Until she became pregnant, the 13-year-old also had no guardian to represent her interests in court.
The state, Green said, should be more concerned with how L.G. was able to get pregnant in state care.
However it happened, Simon said, "forcing a 13-year-old to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term... is just plain cruel. This is what you get when ideology dictates child welfare decisions."
How is Florida wrong? Let me count the ways:
A 13-year-old girl in foster care got pregnant.
A legal medical procedure is being blocked because someone else is morally offended. Sound familiar?
A young woman who wants an abortion, and who has been counselled about it and understands what she is doing, finds the people who are supposed to be caring for her instead trying to force her to have a baby because of her "age and immaturity".
A young woman who recognizes that she cannot care for a child is being told she must have one.
And these assholes believe they're moral why?
Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for coming over last night to the chat. I hope you found he place welcoming.
As far as this story goes, words fail me, except for fucking and assholes. And maybe a few more...
like what about the health of this child? Oh right, fuck the health of the mother. It's the pro-birth crowd stiking again.
And I said it yesterday--is Florida the center of the universe for child rape?
genoasail -- thanks for asking us over! I'll drop by more often. And I dunno what it is about Florida, but, as I hope to move there someday, it's got me worried.
joe -- nope, of course not! We should trumpet this as often and as loudly as possible. Thanks for running with it!
I'm gonna have to live on my boat at this rate, which, frankly, get kinda smelly after a while, and I don't have enough room for lots of books, which is a dealbreaker at this point. Love the sailing there but there are going to have to throw a big tent around the place and exterminate the winger before I'm living there.