Are you too “soft spoken and shy?”
What are your school grades like?
Be careful with your answers, because you’re being judged – both literally and figuratively. A court is about to decide whether you are allowed to control your body or not. And your future is at stake.
You’re in the US state of Florida, where a harmful law forces people under the age of 18 to obtain parental consent for an abortion. And those without a supportive parent or guardian have to ask a judge for a waiver – and prove to them that they are mature enough to make the decision themselves.
Having to request permission like this to control your own body is traumatizing and absurd. It’s your future. It’s your healthcare. Why are they making you go through this?
But most of all: why does the state think young people are too immature to make an abortion decision but somehow mature enough to remain pregnant and raise a child?
A new report today documents how, even though abortion remains legal in Florida in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, judges in the state often deny people under the age of 18 their right to access abortion care. Judges are forcing young people to continue a pregnancy against their wishes.
Those who can afford it may then travel outside the state to get the healthcare they seek. Others may try to manage an abortion outside the healthcare system – with the serious health risks involved.
And the questions Florida’s judges are asking: about demeanor, about grades… It’s all so highly subjective – and bizarre. Is a student who gets Bs in school more or less “mature” than a student who gets Cs? They might as well ask you your shoe size.
You shouldn’t be in front of a judge in the first place. The whole process is dehumanizing and incompatible with your right to health.
The law is wrong. As my colleague and the author of the new report, Margaret Wurth, says: “judges should not hold the power to determine a person’s ability to obtain basic health care.”