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post #1 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

Judge asked to reverse decision by state guardian

"Why can't I make my own decision?"

That was the blunt question to a judge from a pregnant 13-year-old girl ensnared in a Palm Beach County court fight over whether she can have an abortion.

"I don't know," Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained Friday.

"You don't know?" replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. "Aren't you the judge?"

Against a backdrop of state and federal efforts to pass a parental notification law for teen abortions, the exchange was typical of L.G.'s pluck as she argued that she had the right and capability to make her own decision, despite a move by the Department of Children & Families to seek a judge's permission for her abortion.

"I think if I want to make the decision, it's my business and I can do that," she told the judge.

The DCF is the teen's legal guardian after she was taken away from her parents for abuse or neglect. State law allows minors to have abortions without notifying their guardians. Experts say the law extends to wards of the state, raising the question of why this girl's decision has ended up before a judge.

DCF Secretary Luci Hadi requested a judge's ruling, according to a department statement released Friday. DCF attorneys filed an emergency motion Tuesday morning, the same day L.G.'s caseworker was prepared to take her to a clinic for the abortion.

"The Department of Children and Families has the custodial responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the child," the department said.

Alvarez had ordered a psychological evaluation to determine L.G.'s mental condition and whether she would be harmed by terminating the pregnancy or giving birth.

The case is now before the 4th District Court of Appeal where it has been fast-tracked after attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency appeal Wednesday, arguing that neither the judge nor DCF should be involved in L.G.'s decision.

While delaying any ruling until the appeals court decides, Alvarez held a hearing Thursday to weigh arguments.

DCF attorney Jeffrey Gillen said he was concerned L.G. was more likely to suffer "detrimental effects" if she underwent an abortion because she had psychiatric or behavioral problems in the past.

L.G., who told Alvarez she had run away at least five times from her youth shelter, maintained, "It would make no sense to have the baby."

"I don't think I should have the baby because I'm 13, I'm in a shelter and I can't get a job," the girl said as Alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.

L.G. laid out different reasons for wanting an abortion.

"DCF would take the baby anyway," she said, but later added: "If I do have it, I'm not going to let them take it."

She also questioned the health risk of carrying the fetus to term.

"Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?" she asked. Alvarez called that "a good point."

Dr. Ethelene Jones, an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, testified earlier in the hearing that abortions are "definitely" safer than full term pregnancies for girls L.G.'s age.

"At her age and at her stage of gestation ... her risk of death from an abortion procedure is about 1 in 34,000," said Jones, who has held positions at Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. "The risk of death in pregnancy is about 1 in 10,000."

L.G. said her caseworker had taken her on three visits to clinics, and risks and alternatives to abortion were discussed.

Lynn Hargrove, the court-appointed psychologist, testified L.G. had a "mild mood disorder" but did not have "a significant psychotic or delusional thought process" that would interfere with rational decision making.

J.G. is 14 weeks pregnant, witnesses testified, which would indicate she became pregnant after she ran away from a group home in late January and was missing for a month.

She had sex with "a boy" but refused to disclose his name to Alvarez saying: "That's not really necessary."

The judge blasted the DCF, saying the agency never asked the court to issue an order to take the child into custody after her most recent disappearance.

"To say that I am angry at that would be an understatement," Alvarez said. "To rush into this court on an emergency basis because this child is pregnant and wants an abortion, I don't know where our priorities in life are. The priority should have been to make certain that an order to take her into custody was issued as soon as possible, and that she was found and taken off of the streets or wherever she was. But nobody cared."

Munoz said DCF immediately notified law enforcement in Pinellas County when the girl ran away Jan. 29.

Munoz declined to specify what agency was notified, saying that could compromise L.G.'s privacy rights by leading to information about where she was living.

"As we do in all instances when a child runs away from their placement, we immediately notify law enforcement, submit a report into the Missing Child Tracker System, and notify other state agencies as appropriate," the agency said in statement Friday.

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post #2 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 08:36 PM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

this all boils down to when life begins. If the foetus inside the child is alive, then she has no right to kill it. If the foetus is a mass of cells, then it doesn't matter. We can neither prove nor disprove when life begins so we have set arbitrary definitions to make us feel better about protecting our self-interest

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post #3 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

That's certainly one aspect of it, but there are others. Should a 13-year old be afforded the responsibility to make this type of life-altering decision? How does the fact that she's a ward of the state play into that right, or lack thereof? How about the fact that her child, if she comes to term, would immediately become an additional ward of the state? What do you think of the state making this decision for her? Talk about multi-faceted...

As far as the abortion issue goes, my opinion is simply this. I don't care about the precise point at which the development of a fetus is considered human life. Who on Earth is qualified to make that call anyways? The argument relies on the fallacious belief that human life (as opposed to all other life) is sacred. How about this -- all life deserves to be treated with equal regard and respect. Doesn't it seem a bit arrogant and self-important to hold human life above all else? It does to me.

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post #4 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 09:08 PM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

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GermanStar - 5/2/2005 10:04 AM

That's certainly one aspect of it, but there are others. Should a 13-year old be afforded the responsibility to make this type of life-altering decision? How does the fact that she's a ward of the state play into that right, or lack thereof? How about the fact that her child, if she comes to term, would immediately become an additional ward of the state? What do you think of the state making this decision for her? Talk about multi-faceted...

As far as the abortion issue goes, my opinion is simply this. I don't care about the precise point at which the development of a fetus is considered human life. Who on Earth is qualified to make that call anyways? The argument relies on the fallacious belief that human life (as opposed to all other life) is sacred. How about this -- all life deserves to be treated with equal regard and respect. Doesn't it seem a bit arrogant and self-important to hold human life above all else? It does to me.
As opposed to the life of a pig, chicken, or cow? You've gotta be kidding, right?
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post #5 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

Do you suppose that a pig thinks it's better than a cow? Why does anything have to be better than anything else? How does that arrogance serve you? The human infestation of this planet has been quite brief -- if you want to think we're all that, you're deluding yourself.

I really don't expect you to understand. It's about respect toward that which you do not understand and cannot profit from.

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post #6 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 09:25 PM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

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GermanStar - 5/1/2005 11:17 PM

Do you suppose that a pig thinks it's better than a cow? Why does anything have to be better than anything else? How does that arrogance serve you? The human infestation of this planet has been quite brief -- if you want to think we're all that, you're deluding yourself.

I really don't expect you to understand. It's about respect toward that which you do not understand and cannot profit from.
I'm not sure a pig thinks about much more than food,self preservation and sleep. Why does anything have to be better than anything else? Well, that is my point. If the foetus is alive, why is the child better than it enough to choose to kill it? I'm not sure I was being arrogant, G.

If one sees human inhabitation of this planet as infestation, then why is no other life form an infestation?

Help me understand what you see that I don't understand, my friend.

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post #7 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

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azimuth - 5/1/2005 8:25 PM

I'm not sure a pig thinks about much more than food,self preservation and sleep. Why does anything have to be better than anything else? Well, that is my point. If the fetus is alive, why is the child better than it enough to choose to kill it? I'm not sure I was being arrogant, G.
Would you show the same concern toward dogs being put to sleep at the local pound? Or toward the hapless victims of big game trophy hunters? Or toward avian victims of dimwit 12 years olds and their BB guns?

The arrogance, as I see it, is with the anti-abortion (I loath the misnomer term "pro-life") position that relies on some ridiculous notion of a "sacred" status of humanity. If your position transcends that belief, then you don't fit the label.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #8 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 11:03 PM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

Quote:
GermanStar - 5/2/2005 10:38 AM

Quote:
azimuth - 5/1/2005 8:25 PM

I'm not sure a pig thinks about much more than food,self preservation and sleep. Why does anything have to be better than anything else? Well, that is my point. If the fetus is alive, why is the child better than it enough to choose to kill it? I'm not sure I was being arrogant, G.
Would you show the same concern toward dogs being put to sleep at the local pound? Or toward the hapless victims of big game trophy hunters? Or toward avian victims of dimwit 12 years olds and their BB guns?

The arrogance, as I see it, is with the anti-abortion (I loath the misnomer term "pro-life") position that relies on some ridiculous notion of a "sacred" status of humanity. If your position transcends that belief, then you don't fit the label.
Just to be clear, I have never hunted any animal, land air or sea. I don't get the concept unless it is for nourishment. Going to my butcher does the trick, as I am a huge fan of red meat and seafood - no fish. I wouldn't protest hunters but its definately not for me.

A little off base but near the topic, has anybody seen that old Hitchcock segment. The one where a stranger knocks on a door an offers someone a large sum of money? All they have to do is take a box with a button on it, and press it. The benefactor explains that when they do this, someone, somewhere, whom they do not know will die. He leaves the box with them, and seemingly knows when or if the deed is done. He gives them the briefcase of cash. The killer asks what do you do now. The benefactor says that he gives the box to someone else. Saw it as a kid and it still scares the hell out of me. In case you don't get it, everyone who presses the button, becomes the next victim.....
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post #9 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-02-2005, 10:24 AM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

I’m definitely a flip-flopper on the abortion issue. Anti to the max as a youth, but then the girls became teenager's, and they and my wife lobbied me for a change in attitude.
Odd that religious groups so tuned into receiving an after life are so concerned about prolonging life. I love life and nature as much as anybody – shooed a beautiful 4’ Gopher snake off the road yesterday, but abortion is purely a woman’s issue. Maybe I’ve raised to many girls, but this is not a decision men should have any influence over.
Goes to my basic philosophy – “ Without a full set of data, your opinion has no value!�

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post #10 of 75 (permalink) Old 05-02-2005, 10:39 AM
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RE: Girl, 13, argues right to abortion

This girl is entirely right. I just see it on purely constitutional grounds. The US Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude. Forcing a women to bear a child she does not want and forcing her to support the child for eighteen years is clearly, no matter what the age of the women, forcing involuntary servitude. The Constitution also guarantees us the right "to be secure in our own persons", in otehr words, free to go about our business and to be left the hell alone by the state. It also reserves rights under the Constitution to those who are either "naturally born or naturalized persons". People who have not been born yet, simply have no rights. The people who object to abortion need to successfully amend the Constitution in order to do something about it. Good luck.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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