The U.S. Supreme Court's decision clearing the way for a 15-year-old to have an abortion without parental consent was welcomed by the attorney who represented the girl from rural Lake County, Fla.
In its regular Thursday conference, the Supreme Court lifted a temporary order issued by justice Anthony Kennedy that had barred the girl from having an abortion. Attorney Jeri Blair, who refused comment on her client's reaction, said a stay would have devastated the girl's right to privacy."I was thrilled for my client," she said.
Barring any further court action, the Supreme Court's three-sentence order cleared the way for the girl, known only as T.W. in court documents, to have the abortion, and left Florida at least temporarily without any law to prevent teenagers from seeking abortions without their parents' consent.
The action drew a quick response from the state attorney general's office, which filed a motion with the Florida Supreme Court seeking a speedy review of the state law in question, or an order to preserve the law.
Attorney General Bob Butterworth asked the state high court to "expedite these proceedings or in the alternative enter a stay of the mandate" issued last week by the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal.
On May 12 the appeals court ruled that Florida's abortion consent law was unconstitutional. The law requires minors to get parental permission or the approval of a judge before having an abortion.
But it was not clear whether the ruling left minors throughout Florida free to obtain abortions independently, or applied only to those living in the 5th district, an area that covers 13 counties in east-central Florida.
Because the 4th District Court of Appeals previously denied an abortion in a different case, the ruling by the 5th district may apply only in the district, Butterworth said.
But Butterworth said he he believed the 5th district ruling applied statewide, because the 4th district ruling did not address the question of constitutionality.