Perhaps emboldened by the Schiavo case, Florida officials are making headlines again for intervening in tragic and complex private medical decisions—this time involving abortion. Jeb Bush’s child welfare agency, the Florida Department of Children and Families, has gone to court to stop a 13-year-old child in foster care from getting an abortion. DCF’s argument  —for which Jeb has expressed support—is that the girl isn't mature enough to make her own medical choices. The rejoinder to that is so obvious it hardly bears mention, but I can't help myself: Yet, she's mature enough to have a baby??!!
One of the tragedies of this case is that the girl did exactly what we want teenagers in trouble to do: Find a trusted adult and confide in him or her. She then went to a health care center and decided to seek an abortion. At that point DCF intervened, citing concerns that the girl is likely to suffer "detrimental effects " from an abortion.
Hmmm. What about the detrimental effects of having your own decision about your body overruled, resulting in you being forced to carry a fetus for nine months at the age of 13? Or the detrimental effects of enduring pregnancy at the age of 13 as a result of a state decision and doing it all while living in foster care?
Clearly, the welfare of this teenager is not the state’s primary concern. Under Jeb Bush, the DCF has become increasingly conservative. The first director of DCF installed by Bush drew criticism from liberals and moderates for his extremely conservative views  about the submissive role of women and children. He was later forced to resign over charges of improperly awarding contracts. The current head of DCF played a key role  in the Schiavo case.
This is another example of the creeping theocracy emerging in corners of this nation: Legislators with strong personal beliefs use their power to impose those beliefs on citizens—and deny those citizens their constitutional right to privacy. They're seeking to deny citizens the freedom to choose medical care after consultation with a health care professional. This is not about helping out a child who has bounced around the foster care system for four years. This is about restricting individual freedom. Yet this child in Florida may pay with her life.