We are the 99%

February 2, 2011

Allegheny County PA judge rules minor too immature to choose an abortion, but not too immature to have a baby

Via The Morning Call:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider the role judges play in deciding when a minor can have an abortion.

In the case, In re Jane Doe, a minor girl asked an Allegheny County judge for permission to have an abortion after she was unable to obtain consent from one of her parents, as required by the state Abortion Control Act. The judge denied her request and the girl appealed, but lost again.

Now the girl's lawyers have asked the state Supreme Court if a lower court should have done more. They argue the appeals court should have reached its own conclusions on the girl's maturity and ability to consent to such a procedure, rather than simply review the county judge's legal process.

[snip]

Jennifer Boulanger, executive director of the Allentown Women's Center, which counsels women seeking abortions, said she has never seen a judge deny a minor's permission to seek an abortion.
Please explain to me how someone -- anyone -- can be too immature to want to seek an abortion but mature enough to have a child? How can someone be mature enough to face the medical, emotional and financial consequences (even if they decide to give the baby up) of carrying a pregnancy to term and delivery, but can't be allowed to decide to chose to end the pregnancy? In fact, for all the judge knows, if forced to deliver, the minor may decide to keep the baby in which case the judge believes that someone can be mature enough to actually raise a child but immature enough to not be pregnant. HUH?

I have heard that Phil Ignelzi is the judge in question in this case.

Interesting that while Ignelzi was fairly vague to the League of Women Voters and the Steel City Stonewall Democrats while running for election (because, you know, it would be "inappropriate and unfair" to get too specific), the group People Concerned for the Unborn Child determined that he was anti choice and endorsed him -- in fact, he was the only candidate who they endorsed for that seat (out of a total of five who they could have endorsed):


A guess a little birdie told them. Funny how that always seems to happen when it comes to anti choice candidates . . .
.

8 comments:

Pgh_Knight said...

Quite the knee-jerk reaction without actually knowing the facts of the case. I read the statute and the standard is "in the best interests of the mother". Perhaps, the Court, knowing the facts, knows more than us.

Further, I read that the proceedings "shall" be confidential. I am wondering from whom you "heard" your information? Or, if it is even true.

Grace said...

If Phil Ignelzi was the judge then the outcome makes perfect sense (if you are catholic).
Phil is a strict by the rules ( rules made up by old men who condone the rape of alter boys) kind of catholic. If the girl is underage and the parents won't consent then she can't get Phil to give her permission to have an abortion.
Strict catholics, like other 'conservatives' believe that their children are their property until they are 18.

Maria said...

The statute also says:

(3) If both of the parents or guardians of the pregnant woman refuse to consent to the performance of an abortion or if she elects not to seek the consent of either of her parents or of her guardian, a petition to court for consent may be made in accordance with the Abortion Control Act, 18 Pa.C.S. Chapter 32.

That says:

(c) Petition to court for consent.--If both of the parents or guardians of the pregnant woman refuse to consent to the performance of an abortion or if she elects not to seek the consent of either of her parents or of her guardian, the court of common pleas of the judicial district in which the applicant resides or in which the abortion is sought shall, upon petition or motion, after an appropriate hearing, authorize a physician to perform the abortion if the court determines that the pregnant woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent to the proposed abortion, and has, in fact, given such consent.

(d) Court order.--If the court determines that the pregnant woman is not mature and capable of giving informed consent or if the pregnant woman does not claim to be mature and capable of giving informed consent, the court shall determine whether the performance of an abortion upon her would be in her best interests. If the court determines that the performance of an abortion would be in the best interests of the woman, it shall authorize a physician to perform the abortion.


Also FYI: I didn't hear it from any parties in the case.

Pgh_Knight said...

WOW... nice cut-n-paste. Did you actually read it? It say "mature & capable"... I know you are focusing on the mature part, but it is an "and" clause... one must have both.

Your reply does nothing to address any of the actual facts underlying the decision. Do you know if the girl is competent? Age? her reasons for seeking the abortion? The reasons her parents withheld consent? Was she subjected to any undue influence? Or, should it just be abortion on demand for any woman, for any reason, age not withstanding?

Not sure that the judge really cares who is leaking confidential information in a sealed case, when/if contempt of court proceedings are brought.

Maria said...

First of all, you stated that the standard was solely "in the best interests of the mother."

Wrong.

Secondly, would you have been satisfied if my headline had been "Allegheny County PA judge rules minor too immature/unable to consent to choose an abortion, but not too immature/able to consent to have a baby"

Yeah, right.

Here's some questions for you:

"Do you know if the girl is competent" to have and care for a baby?

Do you know if she's of sufficient "Age" to carry a baby to term safely?

Why are "The reasons her parents withheld consent" any more important or better than reasons why they want her to remain pregnant?

"Was she subjected to any undue influence?" Do you mean more undue influence than she's already under to be forced to have a baby that she does not want to have?

Pgh_Knight said...

Actually, not wrong.

What you refer to is a condition precedent, or threshold determination before reaching the decision of whether or not to give court ordered authorizing the abortion. The standard for determining that is the best interests of the woman.

Pgh_Knight said...

Further, I don't know the answers to any of the question, mine or yours, which is why I am not making any knee-jerk reactions based on insufficient information.

Maria said...

" The standard for determining that is the best interests of the woman."

It's pretty clear -- "best interest" is a last resort.

If a minor wants an abortion:

1) They can get one if they have approval of a parent/guardian -- no court involvement needed.

2) If the minor can't get parental/guardian approval (or do not wish to seek it), they can petition the court and if the court determines the minor to be mature and capable of giving consent and that they have given consent, the court authorizes the abortion. Period.

3) Lastly, if the minor petitions the court and the court determines that they are not mature/cable of giving consent, only then is the court supposed to make a determination based on her "best interests."

The lawyers in the article said that issues of maturity and ability to consent were involved. If so, that would necessarily mean that a court decided that she was too immature/unable to consent to having an abortion yet somehow not too immature/able to consent to having a baby and that the court gets to force her to carry to term (under some guise of their own idea of what is in her "best interest"). Or that the court never even took into account whether or not she was mature/able to consent (disregarding the law) and decided to force her to carry to term.