State Watch

Florida court rules parentless 16-year-old did not present ‘clear’ evidence she is mature enough to get an abortion

A Florida appeals court ruled on Monday that a 16-year-old did not demonstrate that she is “sufficiently mature” to get an abortion. 

The appellant was requesting Florida’s First District Court of Appeal overrule a lower court ruling that prevented her from circumventing a state law that requires parental notification for minors to receive abortions. 

The appellant is parentless and lives with a relative but has an appointed guardian, according to the ruling. 

Her petition to be granted an exception to the law states that she is not ready to have a baby, does not have a job and is “still in school” and her father is unable to assist her. It also states that her guardian is willing to accept the choice that she makes with the pregnancy. 

The ruling noted that the court could remand the case back down to the lower court with instructions for a further ruling, but that is not necessary. The court said the appellant did not establish with “clear and convincing evidence” that she is mature enough to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. 

The lower court originally denied the appellant’s request without prejudice, meaning that she can try again to “adequately articulate her request,” according to the appeals court’s ruling. 

Florida is one of six states that require parental notification and consent for minors to obtain abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Tags abortion Abortion Florida Florida appeals court health care decisions parental consent law parental notification law reproductive health care
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