Politics - News Analysis
Florida Judge Who Blocked Teen’s Abortion Because of Her 2.0 GPA Loses Re-Election
The state judge who denied a teenager an abortion partly due to her grades has perhaps had a taste of karma after losing the election in a Florida primary Tuesday.
Jared Smith narrowly lost his nonpartisan bid against attorney Nancy Jacobs, The Hill reports. Smith was appointed in 2019 to Florida’s 13th Circuit Court by Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
Indeed, Jacobs won by a relatively narrow margin — receiving roughly 51.9 percent of the vote, beating Smith by 3.7 percentage points, meaning she gained just over 7,900 votes.
In January, Smith ruled that the 17-year-old girl, whose name was kept out of court documents could not obtain an abortion because apparently, her grades did not meet his standards. I think that’s something that should be none of the judge’s business and it’s disgusting that he decided to hamper a young woman’s life by doing that.
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Fortunately, an appeals court overturned his stupid ruling, in which Smith originally wrote regarding the girl:
“While she claimed that her grades were ‘Bs’ during her testimony, her GPA is currently 2.0. Clearly a ‘B’ average would not equate to a 2.0 GPA.”
I’m glad his ruling was overturned. At 17, this girl is really a young woman and should be able to make her own decisions regarding something that is so life-changing.
Florida and a handful of other states require both parents of a minor child to be notified. The parents must also give their consent in order for the abortion to proceed, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The teen had asked the court to waive that requirement.
But Florida law also allows for a judge to waive parental consent if a judge finds “clear and convincing evidence” that the minor is “sufficiently mature” to decide to have an abortion. Judges are required to consider factors like the minor’s age, overall intelligence, and emotional stability.
There have been a number of high-profile cases thanks to this statute, with one case earlier this month where a Florida appeals court determined a 16-year-old did not meet the maturity criteria to bypass the parental notification and consent requirements.
Smith was widely endorsed by some pretty big fish in the primary. Among those who endorsed him are former Florida Gov. Bob Martinez, the Tampa Bay Times’s editorial board, and several retired circuit court judges.
With the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Democrats have hoped voters will be galvanized into heading to the polls for this year’s midterm elections and it looks like this is happening in some states. Surprisingly in traditionally red Kansas, of all states, voters slapped down a ballot question earlier this month that would have removed abortion rights from the state’s constitution.
And voters in New York scored a similar victory as they headed to the polls on the same day as Florida held its primary, with Democrat Pat Ryan, who made abortion rights a key part of his campaign, defeating Republican Marc Molinaro in the state’s 19th Congressional District.
This is encouraging news, and it’s nice that Smith will have time to ponder all this now that he’s not sitting on the bench. In this case, it seems karma worked beautifully.