The Nebraska Supreme Court, ruling 5-2 on Friday, denied a teen permission to have an abortion. The girl feared retribution from her extremely religious foster parents and also admitted she wouldn’t be able to adequately provide for a child. Nebraska requires written consent of parents for a minor to get an abortion or the child can ask a judge if they fear retribution from their parents. It seems the court disregarded the teen’s situation in reaching their decision.
A 16-year-old ward of the state in Nebraska isn’t mature enough to have an abortion. She is, however, apparently mature enough to bear the child instead.
So ruled the Nebraska Supreme Court in a split decision Friday.
The 5-2 decision denied the unnamed child’s request for an abortion, saying the girl had not shown that “she is sufficiently mature and well informed to decide on her own whether to have an abortion,” according to the ruling.
The girl is not named in legal records, but is living with foster parents after the state terminated the parental rights of her biological parents after physical abuse and neglect. At the confidential hearing terminating those parental rights, she told the court that she was pregnant, and that she would not be financially capable of supporting a child or being “the right mom that [she] would like to be right now,” according to the court ruling. But she also told the court that she feared losing her placement in foster care if her highly-religious foster parents learned of her pregnancy.
I’m not sure what standard the court uses to determine if she was “sufficiently mature and well informed to decide on her own whether to have an abortion” but she seemed mature and informed enough to me.
Disregarding the fear of retribution from religious parents is actually quite common. The girl could be sent back into the system and to me it is as much of a concern as if she was the couple’s biological child. There are many stories of girls being kicked out of their homes for becoming pregnant. It was obvious the male majority on the court didn’t see that as a real issue.
Another note made in the article is the original trial judge was a member of a right to life group in the 1980’s and a comment in his ruling showed religious bias that also wasn’t considered in the appeal.
The district court judge, Peter C. Batallion, appears to have served in the 1980s on the committee for Metro Right to Life, an Omaha anti-abortion group, the Houston Chronicle reported. Bias was a factor in the expedited appeals process — Battalion told the girl “when you have the abortion, it’s going to kill the child inside of you,” and then asked if she would “rather do that than risk problems with the foster care people.”
The judge considered the abortion worse than the girl losing her placement with the foster parents.
This is what happens when religion trumps everything.