FL Judge Allows Teen’s Right to Abortion: State Will Not Appeal

On Monday, Judge Ronald Alvarez ruled that a thirteen-year-old ward of the state was competent to make her decision and should be allowed to proceed. Last week, Alvarez had temporarily blocked the procedure. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, he found that “legally speaking, it’s not a difficult decision to make” and that further “delaying the child exercising her constitutional right … would increase the risk to the child of her losing her life.”

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) immediately appealed, which normally creates an automatic stay of a ruling. Alvarez, however, lifted that stay and ordered that the girl, L.G., be taken to a clinic, reports the Miami Herald. The DCF then appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeals, the Herald adds, receiving a second automatic stay too late in the day for L.G.’s lawyers to address the court.

Karen Gievers, a lawyer who has brought suits on behalf of foster children, questioned the state’s behavior in the New York Times, stating that “this was the first time Florida actively tried to keep a minor in its custody from having an abortion.” According to the Herald, L.G.’s lawyer states that the girl was “very disappointed. Devastated, really.”

But today may be a better day for L.G. DCF spokesperson Marilyn Munoz told the Sun-Sentinel that the agency will “respectfully comply with the court’s decision.” And the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that this morning, Governor Jeb Bush stated that the state will not move forward with the appeal.

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Miami Herald 5/3/05; New York Times 5/3/05; South Florida Sun-Sentinel 5/3/05;

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