(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarques)
A pregnant 14-year-old girl in Texas won a temporary restraining order against her parents who were attempting to force her into undergoing an abortion.
The teenager’s family had scheduled for her to have an abortion late last month before the girl decided against the procedure. Two temporary restraining orders (TROs) were subsequently won in court and the girl’s family is now legally required to abstain from contacting her until the child – currently at ten weeks – is born.
The teen, as well as her teenage boyfriend, his mother and pro-life litigation group, Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL), plan to fight for her right to birth the baby.
TCDL Vice President Stephen Casey told The Christian Post that it is the teenager’s right to give birth to the baby.
"It's a constitutional right that is the flip-side of Roe vs. Wade,” Casey said. “Every innocent life deserves to be protected and we stand by her as an advocate."
Casey said forced abortion is "absolutely" a problem in the U.S. and many women don't realize their options when family members and abusive partners force them – often times physically – into abortion clinics.
"If she wants to choose life, look what rollback she's getting. This is why it’s underreported," Casey said. "We're seeing a transition where our nation is starting to value life more, but there's still a lot of forces in our country who don't value the culture of life."
TCDL believes it is unclear how many women are forced into abortions every year because many women don’t recognize that they’re being coerced into the procedure.
The danger too, according to Casey, is that some abortion clinics don’t do young women any favors. Because there is limited oversight of clinics' procedures, women are put into dangerous situations – including a young woman represented by TCDL in 2010 who was 12 weeks pregnant and prepped for a medically-induced abortion by clinicians because they thought she was only 7 weeks along. The error could have killed her, Casey says.
Pro-choice group Care2 says TCDL is "anti-choice" and that the group’s invocation of Roe vs. Wade is hypocritical for the pro-life group.
"A teen has the right to choose on her own, but only if she chooses to carry the baby to term," a statement on the group’s website read. "If the choice was to terminate against her parents' will, you can expect that no one from TCDL would be invoking Roe vs. Wade in her defense, then."
The statement continued, "That would be when they explain that a 14-year-old girl is too young to know what the mental and physical repercussions of having an abortion could have on her long term, and that parents have a right to control the physical health of their children."
Casey said TCDL stands by its pro-life stance and said the group seeks only to represent the underrepresented population of women who are forced into abortion in the U.S.
"What the deeper issue is here is that people aren't willing to walk with these young mothers through the pregnancy," Casey said. "It takes a lot more determination to walk with someone [choosing life] than it does with some short-term quick fix like abortion."
TCDL does not offer any support for the women it represents following the completion of their pregnancy. Although it only serves women in Texas, the group says it has a network of doctors throughout the country to help women facing a forced abortion.