The state knows best?
The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a 16-year-old girl who was
impregnated in a foster home is “not sufficiently mature” to be allowed
to get an abortion.
The girl, who is referred to as Anonymous 5 in court documents, had
become a ward of the state after suffering years of abuse at the hands
of her biological parents, including a broken collarbone and shoulder
blade during a 2011 beating at the hands of her father.
As Nebraska is one of seven states in the country that require written
parental permission before allowing abortions to be performed on girls
under the age of 17, the state assumed that role.
The girl, who was 10 weeks pregnant when she first approached a judge
to obtain consent for the procedure, had told the court that because of
her parents’ strict religious beliefs, they would never consent to
allowing the abortion, and that she couldn’t "be the right mom that
[she] would like to be right now."
Despite receiving counseling on six occasions, having undergone three
ultrasounds, and approaching the court for permission to terminate her
pregnancy, the Supreme Court ruled 5-2
that the girl “has failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence
that she is sufficiently mature and well informed” about the
consequences of having an abortion.
The ruling means that the girl must carry the baby to term, it does not prevent her from giving the child up for adoption.
"It's a very unique case," Catherine Mahern, the girl’s lawyer, told ABCNews.com.
"It's OK for her to relinquish her child for adoption. She doesn't need
a court to determine the underlying psychological impact or emotional
impact of giving up a child, which I think is significant."
In a dissenting opinion, Judge William Connolly noted that the girl was
“in a legal limbo, a quandary of the legislature’s making.”
“An absolute ban on the petitioner’s right to seek and abortion
obviously raises constitutional concerns,” Connolly wrote. “But the
petitioner did not challenge the statutes as unconstitutional.”
Six of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s seven justices are male, and the
sole female justice, Lindsey Miller-Lerman, voted along with the