Florida court prohibits 'parentless' teenager from getting abortion

On Monday, a Florida appellate court affirmed an order prohibiting a “parentless” 16-year-old from getting an abortion on the grounds that she is not mature enough “to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy.” Instead, the state will force her to have a child.

The teenager petitioned the court to bypass a Florida law that requires a minor to get parental consent before undergoing an abortion. In a letter to the court, she wrote that she was “not ready to have a baby” because she doesn’t have a job, is still attending high school, and doesn’t have a reliable partner.

According to the law, a health care provider cannot legally administer an abortion to a minor without written consent from a parent or legal guardian, although some exceptions have been made in the case of a “medical emergency.” A minor can petition a “judicial waiver” to circumvent the parental consent requirement, but the court must find them “sufficiently mature” to allow them to move forward with the procedure.

In the initial ruling, a lower Florida court ruled that the unidentified teenageer was not ready to make the decision to terminate her pregnancy. When she filed an appeal, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision.

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"The trial court found, based on the non adversarial presentation below, that Appellant had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy. Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision," the appellate court wrote.

At least 36 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion, the Guttmacher Institute reported. Florida is one of six states that requires a parent or guardian to both be notified of a teen's intent to get an abortion and to consent to the procedure.

Many abortion rights advocates argue that parental consent abortion laws can put a teenager’s health and safety at risk and could “exacerbate an already volatile or dysfunctional family situation," according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Based on a national survey of more than 1,500 unmarried minors having abortions in states without parental involvement laws, 61% of young women discussed the decision to have an abortion with at least one of their parents. But that number does not take into account the percentage of teens living in unhealthy family environments. “Parental involvement laws cannot transform these families into stable homes nor facilitate productive communications," says Advocates for Youth

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'A blip': Republicans are scrambling to reassure their base

Republican lawmakers are scrambling to reassure their pro-life base in the aftermath of Tuesday's stunning pro-choice victory in Kansas. While many Democrats see the bill’s failure as the latest indication of widespread disapproval of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Republicans are blaming abortion rights groups and their expensive ad campaign.

“So much money was spent by hardcore abortion supporters to make sure that amendment failed,” Federalist Editor-in-Chief Molly Hemingway said on Fox News.

Right-wing political operator Matt Schlapp claimed the problem was that the measure wasn't conservative enough. “It was not a heartbeat bill it was a late term ban along [with] other basic regulations,” he posted on Twitter. “With a pro life governor look for much stronger pro life victories soon. A blip.”

The coalition behind the proposed amendment, “Value Them Both,” blamed “an onslaught of misinformation from radical left organizations” for the collapse of the measure. "We will be back," they vowed, calling the defeat a "temporary setback."

Pro-choice advocates see the vote as a watershed for Democrats. Although they see fighting for abortion rights as an uphill battle, they are encouraged by recent polls that suggest the majority of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. “We helped Kansans understand this amendment would lead to an extreme ban on abortion that would put the lives of women and girls at risk,” read a statement released by Kansans for Freedom, a coalition opposing the amendment.

In Kansas, a state which hasn’t gone blue in a Presidential election since 1964, the measure’s failure came as a shock. In order to draw support from moderate conservatives and independments, the campaign against the measure looked not only to abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, but also enlisted the League of Women Voters of Kansas, the Mainstream Coalition and other groups.

One ad by Kansans for Constitutional Freedom spoke more to ideological opposition to abortion rather than a moral, feminist perspective. They cast the amendment as a “strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions” and likened abortion restrictions to vaccine and mask mandates.

“We found common ground among diverse voting blocs and mobilized people across the political spectrum to vote no,” Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, told reporters yesterday.

“Kansans across the political spectrum believe in personal liberty and freedom,” she continued. “They understand that we must protect our constitutional rights and freedom to make private medical decisions, including those about abortion.”

Stunning outcome in Kansas could be a watershed moment for Democrats

The stunning defeat of an anti-abortion constitutional amendment in the ruby-red state represents a political earthquake, signaling fresh momentum for pro-choice forces and raising Democratic hopes for the midterm elections. As dawn broke on the morning after the vote, some Democrats and abortion rights advocates argued that the result showed the power of the abortion issue to drive voters to the polls—even in one of the most reliably conservative states in the country.

Over 58% of Kansans voted against the measure that would have let the state’s lawmakers institute an almost total ban on abortion. The landslide shocked political pundits, in part because registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in Kansas, and also because earlier polling had suggested a very tight vote. Kansas is so deep red that it hasn’t supported a Democratic nominee for president since 1964.

“The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: we will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion,” Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, said in a statement to the New York Times.

The implications could stretch far beyond the sunflower state. Abortion advocates have argued that the Supreme Court’s shocking decision to repeal Roe vs Wade could motivate pro-choice voters to the polls, and Kansas marked the first concrete evidence that they might be right.

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National polling suggests most Americans oppose complete bans on abortion.

A recent Pew poll in July found that 62% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A similar majority opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe vs Wade. Abortion is now the top issue motivating Americans to protest, according to a poll released Wednesday morning by Gallup.

And the surprise victory for pro-choice forces in Kansas presented a fresh datapoint indicating that current polling might even underestimate the impact of the abortion issue on voters.

Prior to Tuesday’s lopsided defeat for the amendment, one poll had indicated the measure might be about to succeed by a margin of 47% to 43%, with some undecided.

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Instead, turnout in the state exploded, and the huge wave of voters scrambled that calculus. A staggering 900,000 people cast ballots on the abortion measure Tuesday, according to early figures. By comparison, back in 2018, only 458,000 people voted in the state’s primary.

An analysis of the results showed that every single county in Kansas had shifted to the left, when the verdict on the amendment was compared with how the county voted in the 2020 election, noted Washington Post political reporter Philip Bump.

Democratic participation surged by more than 60 percent compared to 2018.

Democrats have been widely expected to lose control of the House, if not also the Senate, in this November’s midterm elections, in part due to historical trends. The party in power is generally expected to lose seats in the first midterm election of a new presidency, and voters have expressed dismay about runaway inflation and other issues.

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But some elected Democrats openly hailed the Kansas result as a watershed for their party going into November—and urged other Dems to seize the issue.

“I am begging pollsters and strategists to understand that passion is on the pro choice side,” tweeted Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

The issue could also resonate in statewide races, like Michigan.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will face off against the Trump-backed, pro-life Republican, Tudor Dixon. If Kansas is any guide, abortion will feature heavily in the race, and play a big role in determining the outcome—if the issue can drive voter participation and shift votes to the left the way it seems to have done in Kansas.

RELATED: Conservative Kansas voters uphold right to abortion -- for now

Conservative Kansas voters uphold right to abortion for now www.youtube.com