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Shepard Smith Says Bill O'Reilly is Wrong About Florida

Reported by Donna - May 3, 2005

Today, Shepard Smith on Studio B, teased a few times about a 13 year old in Florida who had petitioned the courts to get an abortion. Smith said that this was a 'controversial' story coming our way.

The controversial story about the 13 year old followed, with a lively exchange between Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The following exchange between Shepard Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano is paraphrased, though pretty much verbatim between the two of them.

Shepard Smith (SS): 13 years old, wants to have an abortion, judge says -- have an abortion. What's the deal here?

Andrew Napolitano (AN): Here's the deal. She has been in custody of the Florida Division of Children since she was 9.

SS: The state is her parent.

AN: The state is her parent. She ran away one night, had sex, went back to the house and two months later learned she was pregnant. (Comment: I thought 13 year old's didn't 'have sex', I thought it was considered a crime?) The law in the State of Florida prohibits the Division of Children from allowing those that are in their care and custody to have abortions. She says, I'm 13, I want to have an abortion and the law won't let me have one. The judge has to call it.

On one hand a decision by the Supreme Court of Florida says a minor can have an abortion anytime without anyone's permission and a state law says that a minor in the custody of the state, can only have an abortion if the state agrees. Governor Bush says no.

So, the judge has to resolve it. He resolves it in favor of her having the abortion.

Now, as you have pointed out, she is not old enough to vote or smoke or even get a tatoo or a pierced ear, but she's old enough to consent in Florida to have an abortion.

SS: So, what now?

AN: Presumably, she's had the abortion because Governor Bush announced...

SS: (interupting) We don't get to know that.

AN: Well, we'll never know that because it's private.

SS: It's private.

AN: But, Governor Bush announced about 3 hours ago, Shep, that he will not appeal the decision of the court. So, the case is presumably over. If she hasn't had the abortion, she'll have one shortly.

SS: Not gonna appeal -- if you're looking at this from a purely political standpoint, you might say 'well, that whole Terry Schiavo thing didn't work out for the governor very well or Jeb Bush's approval ratings', so......we'll leave that alone.

AN: You know, Governor Bush has referred to himself as the most pro life governor in the Union.

SS: Yeah.

AN: So, some people (gotcha!) are dissappointed that he's not appealing this. I'll tell you Shep, if he would appeal, he'd lose, because the Florida Supreme Court, whatever you think of it, (editorial comment appreciated) has been crystal clear on this -- that minors in Florida can have abortions without telling their parents or their guardians. Here, Jeb Bush is ultimately her guardian.

SS: So, the 13 year old has an abortion. Judge do you have a theory as to why there are so many stories, crazy things, coming out of Florida?

AN: Our good friend, Bill O'Reilly, as you know, has been covering Florida and.....

SS: He was a teacher down there in Dade County.

AN: Right, right, and he knows it very well.

SS: What's he say?

AN: He says Florida is the new California, it's unmanageable and ungovernable.

SS: Well, I think Bill O'Reilly is wrong. I think the real reason that Florida seems so wacky is because Florida has this incredible, open records law. The Freedom of Information Act in Florida is one of the most liberal Freedom of Information Acts in all of the country and in addition, Florida has a lot of big media markets, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, West Palm, Jacksonville, all top 50 media markets and they're all out there digging for stories, and the big newspapers, and there you go, that combination.

AN: And Florida, when they don't have hurricanes, has very amiable weather and lots of people move in.

SS: Yep, immigration and that big swamp over in Cape Coral, we've got it all.

Comment: While they were talking about the case, a video of Jeb Bush ran in the background, lots of photo ops. In conclusion, I think that they wanted to get out the information on 'how' pro life (I'd call it anti choice) Jeb Bush is and how awful it is that Florida has a law that a 13 year old can get an abortion without the consent of her parents or guardians. In that case, mission accomplished. I did find it funny that Smith chose to say that Bill O'Reilly was wrong. But when he started talking about the major markets in Florida, I came to realize one reason why O'Reilly might be so interested in the state.

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