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03/24/95 MATTER ANONYMOUS A MINOR

March 24, 1995

IN THE MATTER OF ANONYMOUS, A MINOR


Monroe, Judge, Robertson, P.j., and Thigpen, Yates and Crawley, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Monroe

MONROE, Judge

This is an appeal from the denial of a waiver of parental consent for an abortion by an unemancipated minor.

The minor filed her petition pursuant to § 26-21-4, Ala. Code 1975, for a waiver of parental consent for an abortion and requested appointment of counsel. Following an ore tenus hearing, the trial Judge told the minor he was denying her petition, saying that although he thought she was a "very mature young lady" he "just [does not] think it's in [her] best interest to have the procedure without further investigating some other alternatives like adoption and like staying in school." The trial court entered a written order stating:

"Said minor child is a mature 16-year-old young female. However, due to the fact that she expresses guilt feelings about having an abortion and due to the emotional harm that said child might suffer, this court does not find that the abortion is in her best interest without investigating acceptable alternatives to such a procedure."

The minor appeals.

"A minor who elects not to seek ... consent from either of her parents ... may petition ... the juvenile court ... for a waiver of the consent requirement...." § 26-21-4(a), Ala. Code 1975. The "petition for waiver of parental consent may be denied only if the court specifically finds both that (1) the minor is immature and not well enough informed to make the abortion decision on her own, and (2) that performance of the abortion would not be in her best interest." Ex parte Anonymous, 595 So. 2d 497, 498 (Ala. 1992) (emphasis in original). The Alabama Supreme Court also has held that a minor's decision to use the judicial process and request advice of legal counsel may, in itself, indicate maturity. Id. at 499. After reviewing the record, we agree with the trial court that the minor was sufficiently mature to make a decision regarding an abortion without parental consent. Additionally she was informed as to the procedures and risks involved with having an abortion. Accordingly we hold that the judicial bypass was due to be granted. The trial court misapplied the law in this case; therefore, the trial court's order is reversed and this cause is remanded. Because of the importance of time, the trial court is directed to enter a judgment granting the waiver not later than 4 p.m. Friday, March 24, 1995. If the trial court does not enter a judgment granting the waiver by that time, then effective 4:01 p.m. a judgment granting the statutory waiver is rendered by this court.

REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

Robertson, P.J., and Thigpen, Yates and Crawley, JJ., concur.

19950324

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