Dina Kok

The Interim

In a case that garnered international attention, a 13-year-old girl fought in Florida state court for the right to abort her unborn child.

L.G. (the initials of the young girl) was a ward of the state and was discovered to be pregnant after she was found following an escape from her foster home. Police reports indicated she was impregnated, perhaps not voluntarily, by an adult male, as was reported in a local newspaper, the Palm Beach Post.

The Department of Children and Families in Palm Beach County stepped in after learning the girl had requested her caseworker bring her to an abortuary. The department asked Judge Ronald Alvarez to block the request of the girl, on the basis that at the age of 13, she did not have the maturity to make such a decision. The judge ordered a temporary stay, which was quickly disputed by the girl’s lawyers, who were provided for by the American Civil Liberties Union, a militantly pro-abortion organization.

The ACLU, along with Planned Parenthood, argued that stopping the girl from aborting her unborn child was “illegal, unconstitutional and cruel,” based on a 1989 precedent in which a judge ruled that parents or legal guardians do not legally need to be informed of a minor’s desire to abort.

Governor Jeb Bush (R) also became involved in the “L.G. case.” He, unlike many other involved groups and personnel, was the only figure in the proceedings to mention the loss of the unborn child’s life.

Lynda Bell, a spokesperson for Florida Right to Life, commented in an interview: “We are extremely disappointed with the judge’s decision. We don’t think that this is in the best interests of the child. Right to Life is concerned not only with the pregnant girl, but also with the life of the unborn child.”

She further commented that her organization was upset that once again, the first thing the ACLU and Planned Parenthood did was scream about the “right” to abortion, rather than asking why the girl was pregnant in the first place.

“We need to know the answers to these questions,” Bell said. “Why is she pregnant? Is this an instance of statutory rape? Who is the father? What about the well-being of this young 13-year-old? This case is not just about her ‘right’ to abortion.”

Bell also mentioned that pro-life groups in Florida knew they were going to be in trouble with this ruling, and that likely, the judge was not going to rule in favour of life. In 2002, Alvarez ruled unconstitutional the Women’s Right to Know Act, which required abortion practitioners give women specific information before abortions, including the risks involved, the age and development of the baby, and abortion alternatives.

After the judge ruled in May, Governor Bush conceded that he was powerless to overturn the judge’s decision. He stated, “It’s a tragedy that a 13-year-old child would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant and it’s a tragedy that the baby will be lost. There’s no good news in this at all.”

The president of the Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, also reflected on the ruling, when he said that it “is a clear example of a system that should be protecting this young girl and her unborn child, yet has failed miserably.”

He also stated the ruling was an “absurd and very harmful abuse by the ACLU and Judge Alvarez to advance their own political agendas, regardless of who will get hurt in the process.”