Anti-choice activists have been working hard across the country to pass parental permission and notification laws for pregnant teens seeking abortions, including tightening up teen’s abilities to use judicial bypass to obtain an abortion without informing their parents.
So it’s not very often that you hear a “pro-life” legal team arguing about a teen’s reproductive choice mattering more than what her parents think. Or using Roe v. Wade as an argument in their arsenal.
But that’s what is happening in Texas, where a 14-year-old girl is seeking a long term restraining order against her parents, who want her to have an abortion. The teen, as well as her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s mother, want her to continue the pregnancy and have the baby. And the Texas Center for Defense of Life is helping the teen to try and make that happen.
Of course, no one who supports reproductive rights believes that a pregnant woman or even girl should be forced to either bear an unwanted pregnancy or be forced to have a termination against her will, and the use of any sort of violence, physical or emotional, in an attempt to coerce someone out of her own choice is always wrong.
But there’s still a moment of irony when a TCDL attorney declares, “This case is about a woman’s or girls teenagers fundamental rights to choose. And the Roe V. Wade decision goes both ways. In the State of Texas a teenage girl can get a judicial bypass without parental consent or notification this case is about the fact that that goes both ways so if the teen age girl wants to carry the child to term she has a fundamental constitutional right to do that.”
A teen has the right to choose on her own, but only if she chooses to carry the baby to term. If the choice was to terminate against her parents’ will, you can expect that no one from TCDL would be invoking Roe V. Wade in her defense, then. That would be when they explain that a 14-year-old girl is too young to know what the mental and physical repercussions of having an abortion could have on her long term, and that parents have a right to control the physical health of their children.
In Texas, a minor’s parent must be notified 48 hours before a teen can have an abortion and at least one parent must provide consent. This is on top of the 24 hour wait that every woman must undergo before the procedure, as well. As part of the process for judicial bypass, you must file forms with an “adoption clerk” and add in at least one day, if not more, to meet with a judge. The just also may delay his or her ruling. All of these steps were put in place to ensure that access to an abortion for teens are onerous, if not utterly impossible. But if she wants to continue the pregnancy, all she has to do is ask an anti-abortion activist to help out, and suddenly they are all about her right to choose.
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