Florida judge approves abortion for 13-year-old
Teen ruled 'competent' to make decision to terminate pregnancy
The Associated Press
Updated: 7:52 a.m. ET May 3, 2005
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A judge has ruled that a 13-year-old girl at the center of an abortion fight with the state may terminate her pregnancy.
Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez on Monday ruled that the teen, who has been in state custody for four years, would not be physically or emotionally harmed by the procedure. Last week, Alvarez blocked the girl’s abortion until a psychological evaluation was completed.
“He ruled that she is competent, that she has made a decision and that she has a right to act on that decision,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the girl.
The state Department of Children & Families had argued that the girl, known only in court papers as L.G., was too young and immature to decide for herself to have an abortion. The agency said state law prohibited the agency from consenting to the procedure.
Children and families officials declined to comment Monday on whether they planned to appeal Alvarez’s decision. “Since this is still in litigation, I can’t speak to what’s going on in court,” agency spokeswoman Marilyn Munoz told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Attorneys for the girl said the abortion was scheduled for Monday, but it was unclear whether the girl underwent the procedure.
The girl told the judge last week as part of the psychological evaluation process that she wanted an abortion, citing her age and no way to support a baby. The girl’s attorneys argue that Florida law protects a minor’s right to choose an abortion.
A measure is moving through the state Legislature to require notification of parents or guardians when girls seek abortion. In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law requiring parents to be notified if their minor daughters seek an abortion.