A 16-year-old foster child
was denied an abortionin Nebraska because the state’s supreme court decided that she is not mature enough to make that decision, ABC News reports.
In May, the unnamed girl asked a judge for a document that would allow her to get an abortion without the consent of a parent. She was 10 weeks pregnant at the time.
The girl reportedly told the judge that she was not financially prepared to raise a child and that she couldn’t “be the right mum [she] would like to be right now,” according to the court’s decision documents.
Also in May, the state terminated the parental rights of the girl’s biological parents because of abuse and neglect. The girl worried that her foster parents wouldn’t give consent because they were very religious and that if she put the child up for adoption, her foster parents would resent her.
A judge notes in a dissenting opinion that “the Legislature has assumed … that all minors will have a parent or guardian who can give consent. As this case illustrates, however, that is not always true.”
In its decision, the court notes that the girl responded “yes” when asked if she would rather terminate her pregnancy than “risk problems with the foster care people.”
The court reasons that the girl was not “sufficiently mature” to decide whether to have an abortion because she is “16 years old, is not self-sufficient, and is dependent upon her foster parents.” The court also notes that just because her foster parents are religious doesn’t mean that will not act in the girl’s best interest.
The girl’s lawyer declined to tell The Omaha World-Herald whether the girl is still pregnant, but the newspaper points out that girls can go to another state to obtain an abortion if they can’t bypass Nebraska’s consent law.
The law was put into place only last year, according to the World-Herald. It requires girls younger than 17 to get consent from a parent or guardian to have an abortion. Previously, the law only required that a girl’s parents be notified if she planned to have an abortion.
Exceptions can be made for medical emergencies, victims of abuse, and girls who can convince a judge that they are mature and well-informed enough to make the decision on their own, the newspaper notes.
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