Minor’s Rights in Texas

Minor’s Rights in the State of Texas Regarding Abortion

From The Justice Foundation, Allen E. Parker, Jr., President:

There are important new legal rights that a pregnant minor female has now as a mother of a child in the womb.

As a mother, she has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of her child. Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925). That right is hers only, not her parents. Though the parents still have the legal duty to care for her, protect and provide for her, she has the right to make decisions about the child in her womb.

No one may not force, coerce or pressure her to have an abortion. To do so could subject the one applying the coercion or pressure to the charge of fetal homicide (killing a baby while still in the womb) in states that have fetal homicide laws. In other words, any third party (including a relative) who causes the baby to be killed is guilty of fetal homicide. Lawrence v. State, 211 S.W.3d 883, 884-85 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2006).

Even though abortion may be legal, parents do not have any right to force, coerce, exert undue influence or pressure their daughter to have an abortion. The United States Supreme Court makes it clear that an abortion decision by a minor must be hers; that it must be free, independent, voluntary and non-coerced, and that she must be sufficiently mature and adequately informed to make her own decision. See Bellotti v. Baird. 443 U.S. 622 (1979). Besides possible criminal prosecution, if you force, coerce or exert undue pressure, then both you and the abortionist could be held liable for various civil torts, such as battery, negligence, false imprisonment or others.

Some common examples of what would be in our opinion excessive coercion, force, duress or involuntary undue influence might include one or more of the following:

1. “If you have this baby, I am kicking you out of my house.” (You do not have to support her child, but you do have to support her just as she has to support her child. The state and other groups will assist her with her child. She also has the right to child support from the father of the child. And you and/or she may be eligible for financial assistance from the State and other groups.)

2. “No more talking, I am taking you for an abortion. I have made the appointment.”

3. “You are my child and you will do what I say. You will have to have the abortion.”

4. “I will beat you within an inch of your life, if you don’t stop this nonsense, you are not keeping this baby and I don’t care what you think.” (Any threat or infliction of violence is unlawful.)

5. “You are grounded, cut off, and stranded, (or any other punishment) for not choosing to abort.”