A teenager in Nebraska was denied the right to an abortion by the state’s Supreme Court on the grounds that she was not mature enough to make the decision. Last May, when the unnamed teenager was 10 weeks pregnant, she asked a judge for documentation to get an abortion without parental consent. Her reasoning was that she was not financially stable enough to support a child, and that she couldn’t “be the right mom that [she] would like to be right now.” The same month that she asked the court for an abortion, the court terminated her biological parents’ parental rights due to abuse and neglect. Her father was convicted of third-degree assault after he broke her collarbone and shoulder blade in 2011, and her mother had a drug addiction problem. In February, she was placed in a foster home.
The teen was worried that her foster parents wouldn’t sign for her abortion because of their strict religious beliefs. The court concluded that she was not mature enough to make the decision because she was financially dependent on her foster parents and had never lived alone. The decision was appealed in July, but was shot down after the Nebraska Supreme Court declared her too immature to make the decision. In order to get the consent from the court, she had to prove that she was abused by her parents. Because her parents no longer had parental rights over her when she asked for the consent, the court would not grant the abortion.
This young women is not the only example of this fate. According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that works to increase the reproductive rights of women, women in foster care are more likely to get pregnant young than the average women. 14 percent of women become pregnant by age 18 in the general population, while 33 percent of women become pregnant by the same age in foster care, meaning that women in foster care are twice as likely to become pregnant. Once released from foster care, these women are cut loose into society with a child, but have no family to support them.