This just in from the rage-inducing stories department: a judge in Nebraska is forcing a 16-year-old girl to give birth against her will.
Under Nebraska law, minors must get written permission from their parents before they can have an abortion. But the girl, who is in foster care, cannot get written consent from her parents to have an abortion. This is because her parents were dissolved of their parental rights over her because they physically abused and neglected her.
In Nebraska, where abortion is legal, if a girl cannot obtain written consent from her parents then a judge gets to decide whether or not she can have an abortion. In this case, the judge decided that the girl, who requested permission to have an abortion because she did not have the financial resources to support the child or to "be the right mom that [she] would like to be right now," was not mature enough to have an abortion. Apparently, though, he deemed her mature enough to become a mother. Rachel Maddow has more.
This story is exactly why we are so glad that Maine legislators pushed back against attempts to pass a similar law in Maine. Earlier this year, anti-choice advocates put forward LD 1339, which would have repealed Maine's succesful adult involvement laws and replaced it with a law requiring physicians to obtain signed consent from a minor’s parent before she could obtain an abortion.
We hope every young woman can involve her parents in decisions about whether or not to have a child, but there are times - like this time in Nebraska - when that is simply not possible. Thankfully, Maine legislators recogized that the exceptions are often very complicated, that trying to address them with a one-size-fits-all law could have tragic results, and that getting young people the care they need should always be our first priority.
Nebraksa reminds us of why we in Maine must remain vigilant.