The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday cleared the way for a 15-year-old Florida girl to obtain an abortion without the consent of her parents or a judge.
The justices, without comment or any recorded dissenting vote, set aside an order issued by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Tuesday that had blocked any abortion for the Lake County girl, identified in court records as T.W.The court's action makes unenforceable a Florida law requiring some young girls to get permission from their parents or a state judge before having an abortion.
A state judge earlier this month struck down the law as unconstitutional, and his ruling was upheld by a state appeals court. The Florida Supreme Court plans to consider the law's constitutionality in September.
The state appeals court said the law's provision permitting a judge to approve an abortion for a young girl is too vague and could result in arbitrary denials of permission by judge.
Kennedy had acted on a request by a lawyer appointed to represent the girl's 12-week-old fetus.
On Wednesday, the Florida attorney general's office filed papers with the high court asking that the state be considered a party to the case because it involves the validity of its abortion consent law.
"The state is not interested in whether this minor can prove her case," said Assistant Attorney General Jerry Curington. "We're simply trying to uphold the statute itself."
The abortion consent law, which went into effect in February, requires unmarried girls under age 18 to obtain permission from their parents or a judge to have an abortion.
The 15-year-old girl asked a Lake County court for permission to get an abortion without her parents' consent, saying she could not approach her parents without fear of emotional or physical abuse.
Circuit Judge Jerry Lockett, who appointed a lawyer to represent the girl's fetus, denied the permission but ruled the consent law was unworkable and unconstitutionally vague. A state appeals court also ruled it unconstitutional.