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Pregnant at 15, never considered abortion, 8/5/2000

By Editorial Staff
Published August 5, 2000

By Hannah Sampson, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

LAKE CLARKE SHORES — Police Detective Michelle Ferrara couldn’t help but think about herself, 15 years younger, when she heard about the woman who allegedly threatened her daughter if she did not have an abortion.

It was a situation very much like her own. And not like her own.

Ferrara found herself pregnant at 15, with parents who would not have chosen that path for their daughter. Just like Glenda Diane Dowis would not have chosen it for her 16-year-old girl.

But Ferrara’s parents supported her through the birth of her daughter.

“They weren’t (saying), `Let’s throw a party,’” Ferrara said. “They were disappointed. No parent wants their kids having a baby that young. But things happen.”

So when Dowis, who police say threatened to kill her daughter if the girl did not have an abortion, asked Ferrara what she would have done if her daughter came home pregnant as a young teen, Ferrara told her she probably wasn’t a good person to ask.

Ferrara, who has been an officer with Lake Clarke Shores police for two years and was named The Palm Beach Post 1999 Distinguished Law Officer of the Year, is not supposed to have an opinion. She was one the department’s officers assigned to the case and she’s trying to stay neutral while following up on it.

Her daughter will be 15 in September. She said abortion was never a consideration, though her doctor gave her the option.

“No way. Personally, me, no. I didn’t even think about it,” she said.

It wasn’t easy. There were stares.

“The only comment was, `It’s a baby having a baby,’” Ferrara said.

She got her high school equivalency degree, lived with her parents for a while, raised the baby as a single mother and took 60 hours of correspondence courses with St. Petersburg Junior College.

Before she joined the Lake Clarke Shores police force, she worked at the Palm Beach County Jail.

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