Appeals Court Overrules Judge, Allows Florida Minor to Get Abortion

TAMPA -- A divided appeals court says a 17-year-old Hillsborough County high school student can have an abortion without her parents' permission, saying she was mature enough to decide.

The 2-1 ruling overturns Judge Jared Smith's denial of the request. Judicial bypass is part of a 2020 state law requiring parental consent before abortion.

The minor, identified only as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, is a high-school junior who said in the case that she wants to go into the military and ultimately become a nurse. In seeking the parental-consent waiver, she said she was too young to become a parent, did not have sufficient income and would not be able to pursue her goal of going into the military, according to the ruling.

The one judge who dissented, John Stargel, wrote that Smith had the chance to personally observe Jane Doe and had his doubts about the teenager's emotional development and stability.

Stargel, a former state lawmaker, is the husband of State Senator Kelly Stargel of Lakeland, a prime sponsor of a bill to ban abortions in Florida after 15 weeks.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Photo: Canva

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