(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — A pregnant Texas teenager has gone to court to stop her family from pressuring her into an abortion.
The high school freshman, who does not want to be named, lives in Corpus Christi with her adult cousins, whom her attorney Stephen Casey says hit her, prevented her from going to school, and threatened her repeatedly.
“One family member threw her into the car, on her stomach, and said, ‘I’m going to beat you until you decide otherwise,'” Casey told ABC News.
In court documents obtained by ABC News, the 14-year-old alleges that her cousins and grandmother scheduled an appointment at the Coastal Birth Control Center to terminate the pregnancy against her will. The girl’s grandmother, Carmen Pantoja, says the allegations against her family are false. Pantoja says she suggested an abortion, but never tried to force her to have one.
“I advised her to have it. That’s not the same as forcing her,” Pantoja said, “If I had forced her, I would have paid for it and I didn’t pay for nothing. Nobody forced her do anything.”
The teenager’s attorney says this case is about protecting the young girl’s reproductive rights.
“We want her protected. We want her to be able to assert her rights without any heavy brush back that’s going to affect her and her unborn child, physically and emotionally,” Casey said.
Casey is part of the Texas Center for the Defense of Life, a consortium of pro-life attorneys which has fought cases like this before. In October 2010, the group represented a 16-year-old whose parents tried to convince their daughter to have an abortion, bringing her to clinics on two occasions. The center helped the girl win a court order in Travis County Texas District Court that her parents signed, agreeing to stop any attempt to terminate her pregnancy. Baby Leah was born last spring.
The 14-year old girl in this latest case secretly contacted the group through text message when she was seven weeks pregnant. Now at 10 weeks, she is living with the family of the father of her unborn child. Casey says both teenagers agree that she should carry the baby to term, but have not decided what happens after that.
State District Judge Missy Medary has appointed a guardian for the teen and granted two temporary injunctions barring the girl’s family members from coercing her in her reproductive decisions until a Jan. 19 hearing. At that time, the judge will decide whether to extend that injunction through the rest of the teen’s pregnancy.
Pantoja says she has accepted her granddaughter’s decision to keep the child.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio