Should parents force their pregnant teenage daughter to have an abortion? A local attorney not only says "no." He is helping a Houston teen take her parents to court so they will back off.
From the moment he got a call for help this past Friday Stephen Casey has been pretty busy pounding out court motions on his computer.
"You're holding on to your seat ... you, you're doing stuff very quickly," said Casey.
The motion for a Temporary Restraining Order that Casey filed was on behalf of a pregnant 16-year-old identified as R-E-K. The order granted Tuesday prohibits the teenager's parents from forcing her to have an abortion. The judge was also convinced to require the father to stay 100 feet away from her, as well as her boyfriend and his family.
"The father said, look I'm going to come and give physical violence, we have the text messages, where very profanely said that she needed to be physically made to go do it, and that was the end of the story," said Casey, who is lead counsel for the Georgetown based Texas Center for Defense of Life. He is doing the case for free.
It's not the first time Casey has filed this kind of lawsuit. In 2011 he represented a 16-year-old from Austin and then a teen from Corpus Christi. In both cases he won.
At an Austin playground parents and guardians sounded off about this bitter legal family feud.
"A parent is there to guide the child but ultimately if that child makes that decision to keep his or her child, that's on them," said Gabriel Berkholt, who has a 2-year-old son.
Another parent, Rebecca Fenlon, who was at the part with her son and daughter said, trying to decide if a parent should have such a critical life and death say, is a tough question to answer.
"I think if the teenager is capable and supporting the baby and raising it right she should be allowed to do it," said Fenlon.
Jo Anna McCray, 19, was also at the park watching a child in her care. McCray had a surprising take on the question. She believes the parents have the right to intervene.
"I think they love her and support and they're just trying to stop her from making a mistake that could really change her life for good, because it's the choices you make at a young age that reflects on you for the rest of your life," said McCray.
Casey's legal argument involves putting a pro-life twist on the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade ruling and follow up cases.
"It's very important for us to realize this is the flip side of the abortion coin. It is exactly saying if you're going to be intellectually honest and say a minor has the right to make her own reproductive decisions then she should be able to choose life," said Casey.
Casey and his 16-year-old client will face her parents on Monday when the court takes up a motion for injunction. If approved that could keep the parents at bay until after their grandchild is born.
The teen's parents are divorced and she is currently staying with her mother. Stephen Casey is hoping for an outcome like the one he had with his first case. After the child was born the teen daughter and her parents reconciled and are now living together.