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Family of Teen Who Sued Parents Over ‘Forced Abortion’ Say Lawyers Manipulated Her

Robin Marty

Family members of a Texas teen who sued her parents in an effort to be declared an emancipated minor, alleging that the family pressured her into obtaining an abortion, now say she was manipulated by an anti-choice legal group.

A Texas teen who sued her parents in an effort to be declared an emancipated minor, alleging that her family pressured her into obtaining an abortion, has moved back home with her mother, according to ABC News. The mother and grandmother of the teen, known in court documents as REK, say the girl was manipulated by an anti-choice legal group seeking to use her case to get media attention for their anti-abortion crusade.

REK is said to have been approximately nine weeks pregnant when she sued her parents. With the help of her boyfriend and his mother, the 16-year-old contacted the Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL), who represented her as she sought to block her parents from coercing her into terminating her pregnancy.

The lawyers claimed in court documents that the teen’s parents made the girl work two jobs, took away her car, and even discussed the option of “slipping” her RU-486 to force her to terminate; the parents have denied all of those accusations. As a result of the suit, the family gave permission for REK to marry her 16-year-old boyfriend, returned her car so she could use them for school and medical appointments, and agreed to pay half of her medical expenses. That agreement was reached in February.

Now, four months later, REK has moved back into her mother’s home, bringing her husband with her while she waits to give birth, and she now gives a different story about the lawyers who represented her. In an interview with ABC News for a 20/20 special, REK’s mother and grandmother argued that REK was manipulated by TCDL to get the group’s name in the media. “They are activists,” REK’s grandmother, Mary Bailey, told ABC. “They want to make a sensation for themselves.”

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The family also says that the lawyers made no effort to contact REK’s family prior to pushing for emancipation. For her part, REK says she didn’t fully understand what emancipation means. “I had an idea of what emancipation was. But I never got, like, the whole gist of it,” she said in the interview.

In 2011, TCDL became involved in a case in which a girl who was 13 or 14 years old (according to varying reports) who said her family was trying to force her to abort a seven-week pregnancy. As in REK’s case, she was being supported by her boyfriend and his mother, who both wanted her to carry the pregnancy to term.

Update: Here’s the interview, via ABC News:

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