Bioethics Discussion Blog: Meddling Again?: Florida Dept. of Children and Families

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Meddling Again?: Florida Dept. of Children and Families

From the Washington Post "In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law requiring parents to be notified if their minor daughters seek an abortion. Florida's high court also cited privacy rights in 1989 when it tossed out a law that would have required parental consent for a minor's abortion."

In a current case described in the news article, a 13 year-old girl living in a state shelter ran away at least five times without the Florida Department of Children and Families who was the social service agency responsible for the child's protection, allegedly didn't inform the court about her absences. After an absence of a month, the girl returned pregnant and she requested an abortion which was to have been performed. However now the agency, citing a state law which apparently prohibits the agency from consenting for abortions, asked the court to block the abortion. A juvenile court judge has blocked the abortion but the ACLU has appealed based on the above previous court decisions about the minor's right to decide about an abortion. The 4th District Court of Appeals is said to take on the case.

It seems that the Florida Department of Children and Families, now having failed their primary legal responsibility, as in the Schiavo case, may be meddling again in the legal personal rights of individuals. ..Maurice.

2 Comments:

At Tuesday, May 03, 2005 9:45:00 AM, Blogger heather said...

I would hesitate to call blocking the whim of a 13-year-old "meddling in the legal personal rights of individuals".

I'm guessing the minor doesn't understand that an abortion isn't a "do-over". Sure, I'm anti-abortion. I also work with teenagers and I'm convinced that on the whole they are a clueless lot. Love them all, wouldn't trade them for anything, but I wouldn't invest a single one of them with "legal personal rights".

h.

 
At Tuesday, May 03, 2005 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Heather, I think that the legal decision regarding competency with regard to making a life decision is based on evidence other than simply the chronologic age of the person. From the news items I read and quotes of the girl, it seems she put up a good argument on her behalf at the time of the judicial hearing. I think how the youth understands the situation, the possible realistic outcomes and the potential risks is what helps to determine her competency. Capacity to make a specific decision may be independent of making other decision. She may understand the consequences of having or not having an abortion and may fail to understand how to invest or save money for the future and so on. Anyway that is my opinion. ..Maurice.

 

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