Florida’s Jane Doe Deserves Better

In the case of the minor forced to go to court to petition for abortion access, and then denied that access, Advocates strongly condemns both the actions of Judge Jessica Frydrychowicz of Escambia County, and the harmful abortion restrictions in the state of Florida.

Thirty-six states require that when someone under 18 is pregnant and wants an abortion, they must involve their parents, regardless of their own needs or personal circumstances.  In thirty-five of these states, including Florida, if the young person doesn’t want their parents to be a part of their pregnancy decision process, they must go before a judge, and the judge has the right to decide. 

Judge Frydrychowicz chose to deny an abortion for the young person known as Jane Doe 22-B, even though the young person doesn’t want to continue their pregnancy or give birth. Jane Doe 22-B, who has no parents and is in the care of social services and a guardian, told the judge that she does not have a job, is still in school, and won’t have support from a family or a partner. Despite these factors, this judge saw fit to order that Jane Doe continue their pregnancy.

“Young people should have control over their own bodies, even and especially when they’re pregnant,” said Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, Advocates for Youth’s Vice President of Policy, Partnerships, and Organizing. “Florida’s Jane Doe, and too many others like her, have had to stand before  judges in courtrooms defending their personal lives instead of being able to just get the abortion care they need. These laws are part of efforts to end all access to abortion. In the crisis of abortion access we’re facing in this country, we’re seeing that young people are some of the most vulnerable to abuses of the law.  And the bottom line is, the law shouldn’t force anyone to carry a pregnancy against their will.” 

Florida and every other state with age restrictions on abortion must repeal these harmful laws, and no judge should ever deny a young person access to abortion care they want and need.