The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a 16-year-old girl was too young to receive an abortion without her parent’s consent but old enough to be a mother, despite the teenager’s pleas that she wasn’t ready to be a mother. This girl could be your sister, your friend, your niece, maybe even your daughter one day, so I think as ladies it’s our job to take notice if these erosions of our civil rights.
According to Slate, “The teenager, identified in the court ruling as Anonymous 5, showed evidence of mature reasoning at a confidential hearing. She worried that she didn’t have the financial resources to support a child or to be “the right mom that I would like to be right now.” Yet district judge Peter C. Bataillon, whom the Raw Story reports once served on the committee for an Omaha anti-abortion group, disagreed, and the Supreme Court upheld his ruling in a split vote of 5-2.”
Abortion is a right, it doesn’t matter what you or I believe about conception, there is enough scientific evidence to support the fact that a fetus cannot support itself out of the womb before a certain time (around 3 months) and thus is not a fully formed human. If your faith tells you something different then by all means, that is your right to believe those things, but having faith, which is by definition, believing in something despite a lack of evidence, doesn’t have legal standing. Yet, there are people in positions of power who have beliefs that certainly are not universal nor scientifically based who would rather ruin a young girl’s life (or at least destroy any future plans she had made) to prove a point about what they believe rather than do what is right or in her best interest.
The teenage girl is in an especially difficult situation because her biological parents’ parental rights were taken away after having been abusive and neglectful toward her. The anonymous teenage girl’s foster parents hold strong religious views and refuse to allow her to have an abortion. The state of Nebraska does not allow teenagers under 17 to have abortions without parental consent.
There are a ton of problems with this logic. As a society we accept that teenagers don’t have the same rights as adults, these laws exist with the idea of protecting young people. Teens cannot smoke or drink, they cannot consent to sex with an adult, they cannot work a certain amount of hours in a week—all of these laws exist to protect teenagers from exploitation. Yet, I’m sure most of us notice there are many inconsistencies with these laws, like the fact that an eighteen-year-old can be drafted into the army, participate in pornography but isn’t deemed competent enough to drink alcohol.
With this particular law there is a lot of flawed logic. A teenage girl isn’t mature enough to decide to have an abortion, yet she is perceived as financially stable, mentally competent enough and emotionally prepared to raise a child? A teenage girl isn’t mature enough to decide to have an abortion, yet her entire adult future can be decided for her before she is legally allowed to make decisions about that future? How is this law protecting her from exploitation? From mistakes? How can anyone assert that this law exists for any reason besides furthering a religious agenda from those who cannot separate their beliefs from law?
While it is unclear if the girl is still pregnant since it is perfectly legal for her to go to another state to get an abortion, I think it’s clear that courts, in this case, were incorrect.