A 16-year-old girl has been denied her constitutional right to choose to have an abortion by the Nebraska Supreme Court. The judges ruled that the unnamed defendant is “not mature or well-informed enough” to make her own reproductive decisions, though the court apparently believes she is mature enough to give birth to and raise a baby as a young single mother. It’s certainly a ruling that defies logic.
In the summer, the teen asked a lower court judge named Peter Bataillon to grant her consent to get an abortion because she feared her foster parents would reject her because of her pregnancy since they are very religious. She also told Bataillon that she was financially unable to care for a child. But the judge, who is reportedly a former member of an Omaha anti-abortion group known as Metro Right to Life, callously rejected the girl’s plea after telling her that “When you have the abortion, it’s going to kill the child inside you.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the girl’s attorney, Catherine Mahern, was not pleased with this comment.
“Probably the most disturbing aspect of this case was the judge’s treatment of this young lady, referring to killing her baby,” Mahern said Friday. “Who talks to a distressed 16-year-old girl like that?”
Mahern says Judge Bataillon should have recused himself from the case since it is clear that he inserted his anti-abortion views into the case. But the state Supreme Court didn’t agree and delivered a 5-2 split decision against the teen’s appeal. Who didn’t see that coming from the conservative-dominated Nebraska high court?
Under Nebraska law, minors must obtain written permission from a parent in order to get an abortion in the state. But as one dissenting Justice pointed out, this girl has no legal parents because the state placed her in foster care. The lack of parents should mean the girl gets to make the decision on her own. But as a ward of the state, the state government – which is controlled by the Republican Party – has chosen to make the decision on whether or not she can have an abortion.
Once again, a conservative court in a red state is basically calling a pregnant female too stupid to make her own decisions regarding her own body. From what the girl has said, it sounds like she knows exactly what she is doing. She can’t afford to raise a child and she fears retribution from her uber-religious foster parents. She also does not think she’s ready to be a mother. Clearly, she has good reasons to end her unwanted pregnancy. The logic of the court is also incredibly flawed. If the girl is allegedly not mature enough to end a pregnancy, how can she be deemed mature enough to give birth and raise a child as a single mom? The girl doesn’t think she is, so she made the choice to have an abortion. But anti-abortion judges took her choice away.