TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida minor who wanted to terminate a pregnancy was stopped in court by Florida 1st District Court of Appeals in Escambia County.
According to records filed by Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz, the minor appealed a previous court decision that would have required her parents or legal guardian to give consent for the abortion, but had asked for that requirement to be waived.
The 1st District Court, on appeal, affirmed the previous decision, not allowing her to get an abortion without parental consent because she “had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide” to abort her pregnancy on her own.
The teen, who the court record states is “almost 17” has no parents, meaning there are no parents to provide consent. She does, however, have an appointed guardian, according to the court.
“The minor is almost seventeen years-old and parentless. She lives with a relative but has an appointed guardian,” the court record shows. “She is pursuing a GED with involvement in a program designed to assist young women who have experienced trauma in their lives,” it reads in part.
The document from Judge Frydrychowicz says the teen girl filed a waiver under state statute, affirming for herself that “she is sufficiently mature to make the decision” and “is not ready to have a baby.”
The court notes the teenager is unemployed and still in school, and at least according to her statements to the court, “the father is unable to assist her” with childcare.
However, the Florida Statutes, specifically 390.01114(6)(c), according to the court, says a judicial bypass may be issued if a trial judge “finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the minor is sufficiently mature to decide” whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.
While the teen said her “guardian is fine with what she wants to do,” according to the court, and Frydrychowicz says that would be “sufficient basis for the waiver” if other legal needs are met, such as not getting an attorney and not having a notarized waiver within 30 days of a potential pregnancy termination.
According to Frydrychowicz, the decision is still open to another appeal, as it was not dismissed with prejudice. This means the teen may be able to try again, saying that the teen might be mature enough “at a later date” and allow the court to reevaluate its decisions regarding her request for termination of pregnancy.
Additionally, the judge wrote that the teen’s affirmation that her guardian was aware and “fine” with the decision to seek an abortion, all she would have to do to receive the procedure was submit a written waiver from the guardian in order to “bypass” the judicial process and terminate the pregnancy.
The court file does not specify when she became pregnant, meaning that the appeal may occur before Florida’s now-enacted 15-week abortion ban prevents her from doing so.