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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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State will not fight abortion for girl
Officials had sought to block the procedure sought by a 13-year-old state ward. But Bush says a judge's ruling allowing it won't be appealed.
Published May 4, 2005
WEST PALM BEACH - Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday the state will not appeal a judge's decision allowing a teenager in state custody to have an abortion.
"It's a tragedy that a 13-year-old girl would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant and it's a tragedy that her baby will be lost," Bush said in Tallahassee.
Lawyers for the girl would not say if she had the abortion after the judge allowed her to do so Monday. But attorney James Green said late Tuesday that "the case is over."
Green said the "tragedy" was that a politically driven agenda dismissed the girl's constitutional right to make her own decision. In Florida, an underage girl who wants an abortion does not have to get permission.
State Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Marilyn Munoz said the agency would "respectfully comply with the court's decision." She declined to provide further details.
DCF officials had said state law prohibited the department from consenting to an abortion for a minor in the agency's care.
The girl, known only as L.G. in court papers, became pregnant about 14 weeks ago after running away from a DCF shelter.
Palm Beach Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez issued an order last week temporarily stopping the teen from having an abortion after the DCF argued that she was too young and immature to decide for herself and state law prohibited the agency from consenting to the procedure. He ordered a psychological evaluation of the girl.
On Monday the judge said she could have an abortion.
"Morally speaking, it's a very difficult decision for this court to make," Alvarez said in court. " ... But I'm not here to make the moral decision. I'm here to make the legal decisions."
Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union, which helped represent the girl, criticized state officials for disregarding the girl's constitutional rights.
"Isn't it an indication of a strange state of affairs in Florida that we should be grateful that the governor has agreed to obey the law?" he said.
"This was also the law a week ago and this flurry of litigation could have been avoided if the governor could have gotten better legal advice last week that this minor female has a right to terminate her unwanted pregnancy," Simon said. "The governor has a duty to uphold the Constitution - not simply the provisions he agrees with."
A measure is moving through the Legislature that would require notification of a parent or guardian before an abortion is performed on a girl 17 or under. But parental consent cannot be required; the Florida Supreme Court cited state privacy rights in 1989 when it tossed out a law that would have required parental consent for a minor's abortion.