Last week, news broke that the Nebraska Supreme Court had denied a 16-year-old female the right to an abortion without parental consent. Nebraska law dictates that, for girls under the age of 17, written and notarized parental/guardian consent is required for obtaining an abortion. That makes sense in a way—abortion is a significant medical procedure, and younger females might not be mature enough to handle the consequences of their actions.
In this specific case, controversy arose because the girl in question was a foster child. She had been removed from her parents two years prior after suffering physical abuse and neglect, and her current foster family is strictly religious and would surely disagree with her request for an abortion.
Here’s the problem, though. The court deemed the 16-year-old girl not mature enough to make the decision herself, though she demonstrated mature reasoning when she expressed concern that she wouldn’t be able to financially support a child or be a good mother at this point in time. But even if the court truly believed she wasn’t mature enough to make the decision for herself, it still leaves a gaping hole in their logic—if she’s not mature enough to make decisions about her own body and future, how is she mature enough to be a mother?
The initial decision to deny the abortion was made by Peter C. Bataillon, who has reportedly been on the committee for an anti-abortion group in Omaha. The higher up Nebraska Supreme Court upheld Bataillon’s decision, cementing in the law that was passed just last year.
So, what’s the future of this young woman? If she abides by Nebraska law, it looks like she might very well become a new mother, mature enough or not. There are ways around the law, though, like traveling out of state to have the procedure done without parental consent. This case is just one of many that begs the question of when a girl becomes a woman who is allowed to make decisions about her own body. Sixteen is young, and she no doubt has a lot of maturing to do, but isn’t that just another good reason for her not to have a child at this point in time?
She made a mistake, like so many other people do every single day. Should her potential child have to pay for that?