12-Year-Old's Abortion Opposed
Jul. 17, 1998
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) _ A Michigan prosecutor requested a court order preventing parents of a 12-year-old girl who is six months pregnant by her 17-year-old brother from taking her to another state for a late-term abortion.
``I don't believe it's in the 12-year-old's best interest,'' Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Jennifer Faunce said in today's Detroit Free Press.
Probate Judge Pamela Gilbert O'Sullivan planned to hear arguments today on the request.
Michigan has banned abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy since 1974, unless the woman's life is in danger. The girl is in her 27th week.
Her parents had planned to take her to Kansas for the abortion. Kansas law bans abortions after the 22nd week, including those for fetuses with severe, life-threatening abnormalities and deformities. It allows the procedure only to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy would cause irreversible harm to a ``major bodily function.''
Dr. George Tiller, the owner of a Kansas abortion clinic, has cited that last clause as permission to perform late-term abortions to prevent damage to a woman's mental health.
Lauren Tomayko, a court-appointed attorney for the girl's parents, said the family did not wish her to comment.
The girl's parents learned of her pregnancy less than two weeks ago, according to Faunce. The family lives in a two-bedroom apartment, where the girl and her brother share a room. The siblings said they had intercourse once, Faunce said, adding that the girl is now staying with a relative.
No charges have been filed against the brother, but police are investigating.
A member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Maureen Van Hoven, said the prosecutor's actions contradict recent efforts to limit girls' access to abortion by involving parents.
``The whole idea for parental notification is that parents need to be involved in making decisions about their children. Now we have parents who are involved in a decision about their child, and that's gone out the window,'' she said. ``It's their child, and they have decided what's best for her.''
But Erin Wilson of Right to Life of Michigan said the fetus should be saved.
``What occurred was unspeakably tragic and it cannot be erased. Neither the young mother nor her unborn child are to blame,'' said Erin Wilson of Right to Life of Michigan. ``They are both victims, and neither one should be victimized further.''