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Teen seeks abortion without parents' approval



Published: Sat, November 17, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The 16-year-old high school student plans to attend college.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The 7th District Court of Appeals is being asked to decide whether a teen-age girl should be allowed to have an abortion without her parents' consent.

The court has put the case on a fast track, said Administrator Robert Budinsky. He said it's the first time such a case has gone before the court.

"There is a sense of urgency about getting this done," Budinsky said. "It jumps right to the top of the caseload and we have to do it right away."

The girl's lawyer, Marc E. Dann, declined to comment on the facts of the case for confidentiality reasons. The background, however, was laid out in court documents filed Friday.

Has college plans: The girl, listed only as Jane Doe, is a 16-year-old high school student who takes college preparatory classes. She said she has been in an exclusive relationship with one boy for more than two years. They used birth control that malfunctioned, she said.

When the girl discovered she was pregnant, she immediately conducted extensive research on the Internet regarding her options, court records say. She was referred to the Mahoning Women's Center and tested to confirm her pregnancy.

She is 11 weeks' pregnant, due in June, according to court records.

Judge denies request: The girl then hired Dann to seek authorization through Mahoning County Juvenile Court to have an abortion without notifying her parents. After a hearing Thursday, Judge Theresa Dellick denied her request, which led to the appeal.

Dann argues that Judge Dellick abused her discretion by refusing to find that the girl was "of sound mind and sufficient intellectual capacity to consent to an abortion."

Budinsky said rules of appellate court procedure require that the matter be handled within five days of the appeal's being filed.

A hearing will be scheduled but will be closed to the public, he said.

The court will either affirm or deny Judge Dellick's ruling immediately after its own hearing, Budinsky said. A detailed legal opinion could be issued later, but isn't required.

bjackson@vindy.com




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