If you’re a reasonable person living on planet Earth, there’s probably rarely been a day in the past few years when the conservatives haven’t made you want to shout. And unfortunately, today will not provide respite from the madness.
Tuesday, NBC News reported that a Florida appeals court recently ruled that a 16-year-old child without parents, job or partner is not “mature enough to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy” and should therefore be forced to create and raise a human being, which she apparently is mature enough to do. The ruling upheld an earlier decision by the circuit judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz, a registered Republican, which prevented the girl, called Jane Doe 22-B in court documents, from receiving the procedure without the consent of a parent or guardian. In their decision this week, the judges Harvey Jay, Rachel Nordby, and Scott Makar claimed that the teenager “has not established by clear and convincing evidence that she is mature enough to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. After reviewing the file,” the trio added, “we confirm the decision of the trial court under the deferential standard of appellate review set forth [in the consent law].” In her request for an abortion, the teenager wrote that she “is not ready to have a baby”, that she has no job, that she is “still in school” and that the father is unable to help him.
This should goes without saying, even if it apparently has to be said, that it is completely crazy to state that someone is not mature enough to make the decision to end a pregnancy, but is adult enough to go through the mentally and physically taxing work of growing up and giving birth to a child as well as the continuous and endless work of raising one. Republicans, of course, don’t really care about what pregnancy entails, viewing women as mere reproductive vessels, and they absolutely don’t worry about children once they are born. On a somewhat tangential note, we would also say that knowing one is not ready to have a child is actually a clear sign of maturity, setting aside the fact that not wanting one should be reason enough.
While the Court of Appeal decision was partially unanimous, Makar, partly dissenting from his colleagues, said the matter should be sent back to Frydrychowicz for further consideration. “The trial judge apparently sees this case as a very close appeal, finding that the minor was ‘credible’, ‘open’ with the judge and not evasive,” Makar wrote. “The trial judge had to consider that the minor – who was 10 weeks pregnant at the time – would potentially return before long – given the legal time constraints involved – to support any lingering doubt that the trial court fed.” Makar noted that the teenager is “pursuing a GED with involvement in a program designed to help young women who have experienced trauma in their lives by providing educational support and counseling” and “experienced re-traumatization (death from a friend) shortly before she decided to seek a termination of pregnancy. Apparently, the extreme trauma that could result from a forced delivery didn’t matter to the other judges.
Unsurprisingly, people who aren’t on board the dystopian hell that Republicans want us all to go through were outraged. “Florida court stops 16-year-old from having an abortion because it says she’s not ‘mature’ enough to make the decision. But she’s mature enough to raise a child instead? Member of Congress Diana DeGette tweeted. “This is outrageous. And that is why we need to stop this extreme GOP agenda immediately!” Florida Senate Minority Leader Laurent Book said it was “inadmissible” to condemn the young girl “to pursue an unwanted pregnancy after declaring that she was not ready to have a baby, that she was continuing her studies, that she did not have a job and that the father was unable to help her,” adding, “I really cannot understand the court’s rationale for finding this brave young woman ‘not mature enough’ to choose what is best for her, her body and her future. apart from sheer political will or inability to separate church and state.”