Abortion Case Taking Emotional Toll on Lawmakers

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The Department of Children and Families is regularly under fire for losing track of children in its care. In this latest case, a 13-year-old who was supposed to be under state supervision ran away and got pregnant.

Attorney and activist Karen Givers is furious DCF is stepping in after the fact, asking the courts to determine whether the girl is mature enough to get an abortion.

Karen says, “What we have is the state not doing the thing that it’s supposed to be doing for this little child and all the other 40 something thousand that they’re responsible for, and instead they’re spending their time and efforts sticking their nose in where they shouldn’t.

The fact that DCF had lost track of the girl is nothing new. At any given time, about 500 kids are considered missing from DCF custody, most of whom are runaways, but others argue runaways are difficult to track, and what matters now is getting help for the 13-year-old.

State Rep. John Stargel says DCF is obligated to let the courts rule on the abortion issue.

Rep. John Stargel, (R) Lakeland, says, "Right now what you have is a young woman who left her facility, ran away, came back, and is in this position, and I think DCF is doing the right thing. Right now the state of Florida is following the law."

But Rep. Susan Bucher says DCF is just pushing the governor’s anti-abortion agenda by involving the courts.

Rep. Susan Bucher, (D) West Palm Beach, says, “Currently on the books, in the law books, it is legal for this young woman to make her own decision. The fact is, DCF is once again overstepping their bounds.”

While DCF waits for the court ruling, the girl is already starting her second trimester of pregnancy. Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez says when a child runs away from state custody, the agency takes it very seriously.

It could be a week or more until the judge rules on whether the 13-year-old can have an abortion.