Teen Allowed Safe Access to Private Medical Care
Sanity prevails over ideology; state drops attempts to intrude on private healthcare decision
WEST PALM BEACH — In a victory for private, personal decision making, Governor Jeb Bush today withdrew his attempts to block "L.G.," a 13-year-old long-time ward of the state, from terminating a pregnancy after a judge ruled she may be allowed to do so. Fair-minded Floridians have spoken repeatedly in the media and elsewhere about their opposition to Bush's interference in this case.
"L.G.'s case is indeed a tragedy that was sadly magnified by a Governor and by a political system committed to interfering in the private health decisions of families," said Lillian Tamayo, Planned Parenthood President/CEO. "We extend our compassion and support to this young teen, who has endured far too much already."
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, the teen learned she was pregnant and requested help from her caseworker in obtaining an abortion. At the last minute, the state Department of Children and Families intervened and obtained a court order to block the abortion. The American Civil Liberties Union filed an appeal on the teen's behalf yesterday, and the Judge ruled in L.G.'s favor.
"This case provides yet another example of the need to do more to prevent teenage pregnancy. If the Governor and Department of Children and Families would commit themselves to this important goal, tragic cases like L.G.'s might be averted," Tamayo said. "We urge Bush to work toward the provision of comprehensive sex education, improve access to birth control, and enact compassionate laws that acknowledge a sad reality: not every teen can speak to and rely on the support of their families."
Governor Bush has a history of promoting government interference in private, personal medical decisions. Earlier this year, he elbowed his way into the infamous Terri Schiavo case. In 2003, he overreached on another abortion-rights case, appointing a guardian for the fetus of a cognitively disabled woman who was raped and became pregnant as a result. Florida appeals courts overruled those attempts.
In 1999, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a parental-notification law for minors seeking abortions. Last year, a ballot measure was passed to amend the state constitution to make such laws permissible. Legislation to require parental notification is currently under consideration.