29 April 2005

L.G. - The new Terri Schiavo

Last month, Florida Republicans reached an alltime low. Polls consistently showed that the American people were disgusted with how the GOP manipulated the tragedy surrounding Terri Schiavo and tried to use it for their own political gain. Most Americans agreed that the situation with Terri should have been treated with respect and compassion and not used by some as a political game. With the Schiavo saga less than a month behind the nation, Governor Jeb Bush and his extremist cohorts have found a new, vunerable person to exploit for their own selfish purposes. Her name is L.G., and she is 13 years old.

The young woman's true identity is being kept confidential for her own protection, and court records only use the initials "L.G." This young woman has been under the state's care and has recently been living in a foster home. Two weeks ago, L.G. learned that she was pregnant, and after careful consideration and consultation with an adult, she decided to have an abortion. In an unprecedented move, the Florida Department of Children & Familie (DCF) went to court and asked the judge to stop the procedure. (You may remember that it was DCF that pandered to the religious right last month when it threatened to remove Terri Schiavo from her hospice "by force.") The court issued a temporary injunction, and the girl, with the assistance of the America Civil Liberties Union of Florida, is now appealing that decision.

Yesterday, the juvenile court judge expressed his outrage toward Governor Bush and the DCF regarding their irresponsible care of L.G. Apparently, she had run away from state homes five times in the past and was gone for one month during the time that she became pregnant. Considering the Rilya Wilson debacle, this shameless lack of responsible care by the State of Florida is unfortunately becoming a pattern.

Florida law is clear in this type of case. A minor female has a basic right to privacy and ultimately has the right to decide whether she will have a child or not. The state has no legal right to compel a woman, even when she is a minor, to have a child against her will. Even under a parental notification law that is currently pending in the Florida Legislature, the state would still have no legal standing. The future law is for "notification," not "consent," and in 1989, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a minor female shall never be required to obtain consent prior to terminating a pregnancy. In a case such as L.G.'s, DCF may have the right to be notified, but they would never have the right of consent.

Unfortunately, this case has nothing to do with the law. And in respect to Governor Bush and the religious right, it has nothing to do with the welfare of L.G. This is raw politics at its worst. Richard Wexler, executive director for the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said it best: "DCF has engaged itself in another naked political ploy, the same way they acted in the Schiavo case and their position is absurd and morally reprehensible." This is just another case of the religious right playing extremist political games without any care for who is hurt in the process.


Anonymous ourflorida said...

I read about this in the paper, and I was just shocked. The Republicans are disgraceful. Is nothing sacred?

8:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't confuse Religious Right moralists with true conservatives. We true conservatives believe in "leave me alone-leave you alone." It's these moralists who like peeping in windows and telling people what they can't do.

2:00:00 PM  
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1:59:00 AM  

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