I was going to start this post by saying, “This is why a basic human development class should be required for everyone ever,” and then I thought a little bit and decided that NO THIS JUDGE JUST SUCKS.

Last year, a 17-year-old girl petitioned for a judicial bypass to get an abortion without her parents’ consent. The case is closed, but some parts of the record are public.

In his March 24 opinion, Judge Ignelzi wrote that he found the teenager wasn’t mature because, among other reasons, she had used bad grammar and had not asked her parents for permission. He also was not persuaded that the teenager’s trip overseas several years earlier with her mother demonstrated maturity. [Emphasis mine.]

There’s a boatload of fail here, starting with the idea that one must be more mature to terminate a pregnancy than to actually be a parent (because what, the judge is planning to force her to give the baby up for adoption?) but I want to highlight the judge’s claim that a past trip overseas with her mom shows a lack of maturity. A visit outside the U.S. With a parent. Several years earlier.

Okay, assuming that this kid, several years earlier, went on a trip, with her mom, and did something ridiculous like buy hash from a street vendor, get high, and dance in a fountain in Spain. Whatever. That’s pretty immature, right? I mean, I went to Italy on a school trip and my mom was there, so I didn’t really do anything worse than wander off into the ruins one day. The whole group had to wait for me. My mom yelled and I felt bad, but it was absentminded rather than immature. This kid could have done a lot worse, but her mom was there. If the kid did something stupid, her mom should have dealt with it. That’s what happens when you’re a kid and you do something immature. If something was so bad as to reflect poorly on the kid’s maturity level, why doesn’t it also reflect poorly on the mom’s parenting ability? (Not that I am trying to blame anyone else for something a kid did, but there’s such a tremendous lack of logic in this judge’s ruling.) 

And here’s the kicker: this kid was 17 at the time of the petition. The trip overseas was several years earlier. In common parliance, several means three at the very least, so the kid must have been no older than 14. This is where the human development class comes in: the difference between the mental and emotional capacity of a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old is massive. That’s why high school freshmen aren’t allowed to drive yet and high school seniors are getting ready to move out of the house.

So basically the judge’s ruling comes down to this: Jane Doe is not mature enough to decide what happens to her own body because she used her best judgement to determine that her parents would not consent to her terminating a pregnancy, because she has not yet attained proficiency in written grammar, and because she behaved immaturely when she was younger, and therefore smaller and shorter than she is now.

Nevermind the fact that she had the best experience of what her parents would allow, that many adults and people of all ages never fully grasp the intricacies of the English language (which is recommended but  not strictly required for effective communication in English-speaking places), or that the vast majority of people display signs of immaturity before they mature (…that’s kinda how it works). Therefore Jane Doe must alter her lifestyle for the duration of the pregnancy and give birth, which can be anywhere from uncomfortable to dangerous, in order to bear a child that she will either parent or give up for adoption. Presumably this judge prefers the latter, even though… y’know. (Don’t get me wrong, I totally and completely support those who adopt and those who put children up for adoption. Please do not assume otherwise. I’m just saying it’s not inherently preferable to teminating a pregnancy, and all women deserve the right to decide for themselves.)

So, this judge: total misogynist douche or mega ultra misogynist douche?