Family violence can be physical, emotional or even a combination of both. In Houston, Texas, a pregnant teenage girl stood her ground against her parents, who both attempted to coerce her with extreme measures to have an abortion. The case is an unfortunate example of family violence by means of emotional distress.
In a recent ruling, a local Texas judge granted a 16-year-old girl a long-term injunction. The injunction came after weeks of stress and anxiety due to the harassment and coercion by the young woman’s parents.
The teenager’s parents made her life miserable in an attempt to force her to have an abortion. Her boyfriend and his parents took care of her until a petition for a temporary protective order could be filed and approved by a local judge. The court then decided that a long-term injunction was necessary until the girl delivers her baby.
The second ruling also ordered that the girl’s parents return her cell phone and car, which they had taken away, and that she may use them to get to school, work and medical appointments. Her parents are responsible for paying half of the medical bills, unless she marries her boyfriend. The boy’s parents have agreed to help with expenses.
The court drama lasted for approximately an hour and a half before the lawyers arrived at an agreement. The expecting father and his family were happy with the decision, stating that it was a stressful time for the mother and that the ruling very good news. Their fear is that the girl’s stressful ordeal might have affected the unborn child.
Federal and state laws are in place to protect the safety of children. These laws come into play when parents attempt to force their views on someone through emotional and physical abuse. Victims of any form of family violence or abuse, in Houston or anywhere, should seek the assistance of a knowledgeable legal professional for advice and options.
Source: ABC Houston, “Pregnant teen reaches agreement over baby,” Feb. 18, 2013