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Should Florida’s House Bill 1335 become law, pregnant teens who do not have their parents’ or guardians’ permission to have an abortion will have to petition the court for a waiver and convince a judge that they’re mature and capable enough to make that decision. The irony is that a judge can deny the request if they find an expectant teen too immature to terminate her pregnancy — but not too immature to then go on to raise a child.
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As Newsweek reports, the controversial bill — which was approved last week by 10 votes to four by the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee, moving on to the Judiciary Committee — would require young women to present “clear and convincing evidence” of their maturity in order to obtain a waiver from the court. Under the bill, the judge would consider factors such as age, intelligence, emotional development and stability, ability to grasp the potential health risks and “consequences” of her decision, willingness to take on responsibility and “credibility and demeanor as a witness.”
Theoretically, a teen who is considered insufficiently able to take on responsibility could be denied a waiver to get an abortion without parental consent, therefore forcing her to potentially take on the greatest responsibility of all: motherhood.
“If that judge doesn’t deem you mature enough to have an abortion, that judge is deeming you mature enough to have a child, and that is daunting,” Kim Scott, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, told Newsweek.
The catch-22 logic behind the bill has also stirred up backlash on Twitter.
In Florida, a judge finding you're *immature* means you get your very own BAAABBBYYYY!!!! https://t.co/9t7mcGeb7z
— Emily Galvin-Almanza (@GalvinAlmanza) March 24, 2019
Not mature enough for an abortion, but mature enough for motherhood? 😳
— redbone (@thisbitchprods) March 22, 2019
So she's mature enough to have a kid, to raise a human being, but not to decide if she wants an abortion? Women's rights are human rights.
— Laurie Crosswell (@lauriecrosswell) March 23, 2019
Florida Man Decides That Someone Else Is Too Immature To Do Something
— Michael Smith (@MSmith7242) March 22, 2019
Too immature to say what happens to her own body, but mature enough to take care of another?
— Kermanetherunner (@KermaneB) March 22, 2019
How is a woman "too immature" for an abortion but "mature" enough for motherhood? https://t.co/xURtKntJrs
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) March 24, 2019
"You're too immature to have an abortion, so instead you'll have to be a responsible parent to an infant that is depending on you to provide for it." https://t.co/eacbplFAzl
— ᴡʜʏ ɪs ASHLEY LYNCH ᴏɴ ᴍʏ ᴛʟ (@ashleylynch) March 25, 2019
'you’re too immature to get an abortion but here please take care of this human, make sure you love and support this person emotionally and financially for the next 18 years. you’re definitely mature enough for that, good luck!' i can’t even process how stupid ppl are https://t.co/T6P0eViBYO
— lynn (@krysalynnmango) March 24, 2019
But it’s not unheard of. As critics noted, similar bills exist in 37 states besides Florida. Others pointed out that teens who fail to get waivers could opt to put the baby up for adoption rather than raising a child, which could create “trauma” of its own.
This bill is despicable and 37 other states already do this. Get mad, make change.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) March 22, 2019
There is still a very pervasive idea that very young parents and very poor parents should be compelled, often by force of law, to give birth in order to be pressured to give their children to rich infertile people, preferably Christians.
— Mx. Amadi (@amaditalks) March 24, 2019
The overlapping principle between the antichoice movement and the adoption industry in this country is that the children are little more than a commodity and pregnant people are little more than breeding livestock, like cows calving in a field.
— Mx. Amadi (@amaditalks) March 24, 2019
The bill was introduced just days after Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva came under fire for referring to pregnant women as “host bodies” in an interview about abortion which aired on CBS Miami.
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