LOS ANGELES, JAN. 17 -- The boyfriend of a 17-year-old high school cheerleader, arguing that the girl's parents had coerced her into having an abortion she did not want, has persuaded a Superior Court judge here to temporarily block the procedure.
In what both sides of the abortion rights debate hail as a significant case, a Superior Court judge is expected Friday to grant an injunction that would permanently block an abortion "against her will and without her free and voluntary and informed consent."
The judge issued the temporary order restraining the parents and the doctor to prevent "great and irreparable injury" to the teenager until the matter could be sorted out at Friday's hearing.
Armed with the court order, the boyfriend and two lawyers reached the girl as she was lying on an operating table minutes before the abortion was to begin last Friday.
Antiabortion lawyers and officials, who provided legal help to the couple, see the case as another strike against legalized abortion, while abortion-rights advocates say that the judge's decision upholds a woman's right to choose.
Meanwhile, the couple plans to be married after the girl graduates from a Los Angeles high school this spring. "We're happy," said the boyfriend, a 20-year-old Los Angeles college student. "We have each other now, and we have the baby."
The couple asked that their names not be published to protect the girl's parents, whom they said remain angry and embarrassed at the conflict.
A lawyer for the girl's parents said today they have given up their efforts to persuade her to have the abortion. The lawyer said the parents were only acting in what they thought were the best interests of their daughter, "and in the interest of what they thought she wanted."
"They have made peace with their daughter, and they are going to go forward from here," said the lawyer, Sara Bergstrom, of Fullerton, Calif. "They love this girl. She is their child."
In California, unlike most states, a minor has the right to decide whether to have an abortion no matter what her parents say.
But the girl said in an interview that her parents "freaked out" when she told them she was pregnant and wanted to have the baby. She said that her parents then made hasty plans for the abortion without consulting her, resisted the boyfriend's attempts to talk them out of it, and even spirited the girl away to hotel rooms for three nights before the abortion so she could not discuss the matter with anyone.
The girl said that her parents said that if she had the child, it would "ruin" her life and cause the family shame and embarrassment.