Court of appeals prohibits Florida minors from having an abortion

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A Florida appeals court on Monday upheld a lower judge’s decision that a 16-year-old minor in the state cannot receive an abortion under a law requiring parental consent for minors, forcing the teen to carry her pregnancy to term, if such consent laws come after the overturning of the Roe v. Wade has come under increasing scrutiny from the Supreme Court.

Important facts

A panel of three judges in the First District Court of Appeals in Florida page with an Escambia County district judge who ruled that the plaintiff had “failed to establish by clear and compelling evidence that she was mature enough to determine whether she should terminate her pregnancy” as required by Florida law.

The states parental consent law, enacted allows minors in 2020 to seek “court evasion” and obtain court permission for an abortion if they cannot obtain parental or guardian consent.

The judges said their decision was based on the fact that Florida law only allows them to overturn the lower court’s decision if there was “abuse or discretion” — and not based on actual evidence in the case — and the decision of the District Judge “neither unclear nor absent.”

The plaintiff, who was 10 weeks pregnant and identified only as Jane Doe 22-B, told the court “she’s not ready to have a baby,” she doesn’t have a job, she’s “still in school.” “and the father is unable to help her,” First Circuit Judge Scott Makar noted in his opinion, partly agreeing and partly disagreeing with the court’s ruling.

While the trial court judge denied the motion, she left open the possibility that Doe “may later be able to adequately articulate her motion” and again asked the court to terminate the pregnancy, and Makar noted, that the applicant was “under additional stress at the time due to the death of a friend.”

Because of this, Makar argued that the Court of Appeals should have remanded the case to the lower court for it to reconsider the matter, but it was overruled by the other two judges.

Surprising fact

The plaintiff in the case was denied an abortion even after declaring that her legal guardian “agrees with what [she] want to do,” Makar noted. If the guardian had stated this in a written waiver, he would have allowed Doe to obtain an abortion without going to court. It is unclear why she sought the court’s permission instead of her guardian’s, and whether obtaining her guardian’s written permission could be a way for her to terminate her pregnancy anyway.

Big number

36. This is the number of states that have parental consent laws for abortion, according to to the Guttmacher Institute for Abortion Rights, and 35 have a “court circumvention” provision like that in Florida, allowing minors to seek permission in court. However, some of those laws are now repealed as a number of states have now banned abortion outright after the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade fell.

main critic

“Instead of trusting her and listening to her, the state forces her to give birth,” says Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani (D). tweeted Monday in response to the court ruling against Doe, later Add to On Tuesday, the state’s parenting policy is “cruel for the sake of being cruel and all designed to control people.”


The case comes after another high-profile case of a Florida minor who filed for an abortion in court in January. in the the case, a junior judge initially denied the minor’s request, citing her low GPA as the reason why she was not mature enough to terminate the pregnancy. However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals then reversed that judge’s decision and granted the abortion waiver.

key background

Florida is now one of the only states in the Southeast, where abortion remains largely legal, although the state now bans abortions after 15 weeks of gestation and has been a major entry point for abortions since neighboring states have banned the procedure. Americans ages 19 and under accounted for 8.9% of all abortion patients nationwide in 2019. according to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NPR Remarks The Supreme Court, the Roe v. Wade rescinded, and parental consent laws have made it increasingly difficult for many minors to access medical care. Minors traveling abroad for abortions may need to avoid states where the procedure is legal but requires, for example, parental consent, giving them fewer choices as to where to go. Teens like Doe, who are denied abortions in their own states, face additional logistical obstacles compared to adults when it comes to traveling abroad for an abortion, such as: B. lack of income or means of transport.

Further reading

Court of Appeals blocks abortion under Florida Consent Act (Guardians of Orlando)

Long uncertain, young people’s access to abortion is more complicated than ever (NPR)

Teens faced obstacles to getting abortions. The Supreme Court has only made it more difficult (NPR)

How hard is it to get a court-approved abortion? For a teenager, GPA mattered. (Washington Post)

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