Teen Sues for Right to Carry Her Pregnancy

A Texas teen is highlighting another aspect of choice with a court case against her parents, demanding the right to carry her pregnancy to term. R.E.K., 16, won a restraining order against her separated parents in an attempt to protect herself from their attempts to coerce her to have an abortion, and the case has attracted considerable attention in the media, because it touches on a number of hot-button issues.

In conservative Texas, many pregnant women feel that abortion is not an appropriate option for them even if they may have concerns about the timing of the pregnancy. This teen isn’t the first, or the last, to exercise her right to choose to carry her pregnancy and raise the baby, rather than electing for abortion or adoption. Her parents, however, didn’t support her decision, highlighting the power imbalance that can arise between teens and their parents.

While parents are technically permitted to make medical decisions on behalf of their children, most doctors prefer cooperative, engaged patients who take part in the decision-making process. And when it comes to abortion, courts have affirmed that parents do not have the right to compel children to get abortions — or to force their children to carry pregnancies to term — given that pregnancy is such an intimate and emotional issue.

R.E.K. claimed her parents attempted emotional intimidation and coercion, threatened to take her to a facility for an abortion against her will, and conspired to slip her RU-486, a medication that causes abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. If the allegations made in the eight pages of documents are true, they make for a chilling story of a teen struggling to go against her parents and do what she thinks is right for herself.

She called on a conservative anti-choice organization, the Texas Center for Defense of Life, for help with her case. The group has successfully represented other teens in similar situations and appears to be making headway with her case, using it as yet another promotional opportunity for the work it does. And yet another chance to paint people who support the right to choose with the same brush, suggesting that all reproductive rights advocates would support forcing an abortion on a young woman who doesn’t want one, or that doctors and other clinicians would provide an abortion to an unwilling patient in violation of both the law and medical ethics.

Particularly in Texas, where there are considerable barriers to accessing abortion services, it’s highly unlikely her parents would have succeeded in compelling her to have the procedure at all, but her fears are understandable. For teens defying their parents with a major life decision, it can be incredibly frightening to speak up.

She could easily have gone to a pro-choice organization for help as well, and it’s telling that she chose the anti-choice route; in Texas, as in many other regions of the world, the social understanding of the reproductive rights movement is as a coathanger-armed crowd ready to charge forth and murder innocent babies, which is a huge tragedy. Cases like this should never happen, and young women who need support while they decide how to handle a pregnancy should feel comfortable seeking assistance from people with the resources to help them — like pro-choice groups that offer prenatal care, counseling and assistance to pregnant teens.

Related articles:

Texas Considers Bill To Ban Almost All Abortion

95 New Reproductive Rights Restrictions In Just 6 Months

Every Woman Has the Right to Reproductive Health Care

Image credit: mahalie stackpole


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

pro choice does NOT mean pro abortion. I would not have an abortion but I FULLY support any woman who chooses to have one. Her body, her choice. No judgement.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago


Lika S.
Lika P4 years ago

This is part of the pro-choice this country has for us. Being pro-choice doesn't mean everyone in "less than ideal" circumstances HAVE to have an abortion. Choosing to carry on is a valid choice in our community.

ryan burger
Ryan B4 years ago

I thought texas was the right wing, conservative, closed minded bible thumping, control all your actions capital of the US? Why are they wanting this girl to abort? That goes against everything they stand for.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L4 years ago

Caitlyn W: Such as Planned Parenthood. Have you lived under a rock? PP offers all sorts of medical care. Check their website.
As for the young lady in question. I wish her all the best and that her parents will come around and accept her choice. Being pro-choice I support whatever decision a woman makes in that sense. Going full term or termination. It's a woman's choice. That's what the term pro-choice means. Anti-choice means the opposite. Declining women the rights to our own bodies and any decision on how to handle physical situations.
In the case presented I have very little information on what reasons the parents have for their decision, but I still maintain it's the young, pregnant lady's choice to make.

stacey t.
Stacey Toda4 years ago

I agree that this girl should not have to have an abortion if she does not choose to do so. However, you cannot be “slipped” an RU-486. You can only get the RU-486 in a clinic where they make you take it there in the presents of the doctor. I also don’t think her parents should have to pay for things like her cell phone bill.

Catrina Therrien
Catrina Therrien4 years ago

But people are right it is that persons choice..weather wrong o right. i believe this young girl made the right choice even though her life may be a bit more difficult with a baby she made the right choice imo. but yes everyone has a choice of thier on..choose right or wrong that is thier decision.

Catrina Therrien
Catrina Therrien4 years ago

Not trying to be a bible thumper either. I dont believe in abortion just because it is plain wrong to murder a baby before it has even had a chance to live on earth. Even if i didnt believe in God i would still consider it murder and deff. wrong to do. Like i stated before i do not even believe in murdering rape babies(babies conceived in darkness but only to bring light) as they were put there for a reason for all that person knows that could of been the person who was to invent flying cars(or what have you). I personally do not practice my religion but i will preach it when need be and i will never force it upon anyone either. Abortion is just wrong plain and simple and i believe people who think otherwise have serious mental issues to think killing an unborn child is OK and perfectly fine...those are the people who will lie, cheat, steal, murder, and stab you in the back at any chance. but thats just me, lol. 90% of women who have abortions feel guilty for the rest of thier life..whats that tell ya? guilt(this includes excuses!) comes out of knowing you did wrong even if you believed you did right..hm..brain buster there yah? lol

Catrina Therrien
Catrina Therrien4 years ago

Megan M. this is untrue about the soul breath thing. There are many various places you can research the bible along with reading it. I dont know what bible you read where it has ever said that but in the bible i have read and do research with an unborn child has a soul. This is stated in many different ways in the bible..this website is pretty helpful here: http://carm.org/bible-abortion just for reference since i cant type everything myself here. But before you speak you should know what you are speaking about. It is murder when you have an abortion..that is a growing child inside of you and just because it hasnt popped out yet does not mean it isnt living..it is a living being/organism with a soul as soon as it is conceived and like said this is stated many times in the bible. altho abortion isnt mentioned specifically it is mentioned in reference.

Sonya Armenia Redfield