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Nebraska Supreme Court rules 16-year-old ‘not mature enough’ for abortion

A 16-year-old ward of the state in Nebraska isn’t mature enough to have an abortion. She is, however, apparently mature enough to bear the child instead.

So ruled the Nebraska Supreme Court in a split decision Friday.

The 5-2 decision denied the unnamed child’s request for an an abortion, saying the girl had not shown that “she is sufficiently mature and well informed to decide on her own whether to have an abortion,” according to the ruling.

The girl is not named in legal records, but is living with foster parents after the state terminated the parental rights of her biological parents after physical abuse and neglect. At the confidential hearing terminating those parental rights, she told the court that she was pregnant, and that she would not be financially capable of supporting a child or being “the right mom that [she] would like to be right now,” according to the court ruling. But she also told the court that she feared losing her placement in foster care if her highly-religious foster parents learned of her pregnancy.

It isn’t clear if the child is still pregnant. The Omaha World-Herald interviewed her attorney, Catherine Mahern, who said “It is not in my client’s best interests to comment,” while noting that her client could go around the restrictions of Nebraska law by going to another state.

But speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Mahern said the girl didn’t need consent under the regulations of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “if a ward decides to have an abortion, the consent of the parent(s) or Department is not required.” Notification of the girl’s foster parents might be required, however.

Nebraska changed its abortion laws two years ago from requiring that parents of minors be informed to requiring written and notarized parental consent for an abortion. Exceptions may be made in cases of parental abuse, medical emergencies, or cases in which the minor is “sufficiently mature and well-informed” to decide whether to have an abortion.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the child did not meet that standard in this case.

The district court judge, Peter C. Batallion, appears to have served in the 1980s on the committee for Metro Right to Life, an Omaha anti-abortion group, the Houston Chronicle reported. Bias was a factor in the expedited appeals process — Battalion told the girl “when you have the abortion, it’s going to kill the child inside of you,” and then asked if she would “rather do that than risk problems with the foster care people.”

by Anonymousreply 910/10/2013

How is this not a violation of Roe v. Wade? Or is that the point? They want to take the case to SCOTUS and get RvW overturned. If there's not a big change in the court soon, I don't doubt they'll succeed.

by Anonymousreply 110/06/2013

Of course, if she killed the baby after it's born, she'd be tried as an adult.

by Anonymousreply 210/06/2013

r2, if or when?

by Anonymousreply 310/06/2013

Abortion is a medical procedure. A surgical procedure. I'm pro-choice, and have absolutely no issue with women getting abortions until viability. Frankly, I don't get all the sturm and drang over removing a bit of protoplasm from the body...benign tumors and cysts get removed all the time.

But I do think kids need an adult's consent to get elective surgery. I don't care if its the parents, as long as it's a caring adult who's talked about the potential physical consequences (real ones, not 'pro-life' bullshit ones). But the idea that kids should be able to have elective surgery without an adult's consent and supervision? Absolutely not.

The problem is that both sides in the debate have become so strident that there's no room for common sense.

by Anonymousreply 410/06/2013

OP is pointing out that she isn't "mature enough" to get an abortion but apparently is mature enough to raise a child.

by Anonymousreply 510/06/2013

Pop the kid out and leave it at the Supreme Court. I smell an ABC Family sitcom!

by Anonymousreply 610/06/2013

OP is a Freeper troll.

by Anonymousreply 710/06/2013

I saw this on Rachel Maddow the other night.

r4, this girl has been removed from her parents because her parents were physically abusive. So she has no parental conservators to even ask for consent in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 810/10/2013

What's more, she is in foster care with other, younger sibs. She told the judge she believed having a child would jeopardize her own placement as well as theirs. Sounds like she has a lot of weight on her shoulders already.

If these weren't legitimate fears, I have to believe the foster parents would have said otherwise by now. Probably they don't want another kid. She's trying not to break up her family. If all the children were taken away, something bad happened. She was reportedly abused. We also don't know if the baby is due to incest or molestation, since she was taken away from her parents.

This is exactly why politicians shouldn't be making these decisions. This girl is teetering on the edge of disaster already, and a bunch of rich old white men want to push her over.

by Anonymousreply 910/10/2013
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