Thursday, November 15, 2012
My faith in law is restored . . .
Nevada District Court Judge Egan Walker has agreed that a pregnant 32-year-old mentally disabled woman will not be forced to have an abortion against her will.
Judge Walker has taken the potential abortion off the table and will hold a medical evidentiary hearing with experts to determine the best way to safely help the woman carry her pregnancy to term and have the baby. Nothing has been decided at this point about contraception for the woman, long-term.
The case of Elisa Bauer was troubling to me as a Catholic lawyer. Elisa is 32-years-old yet has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old. For this reason, her parents became her legal guardians when she turned 18. She was adopted by them as a child, handicapped from fetal alcohol syndrome. She suffers from epilepsy and, with the help of her drugs, has not had a seizure in 4 years.
At one point, they put her in a group home. Elisa wandered away and - perhaps consensually, perhaps nor - had sex with an unknown male and conceived a child. She is now about 15 weeks into her pregnancy. At present, there are about 6 couples willing to adopt the baby, even if it special needs (and chances are good it will not be, since Elisa's problems are congenital, but not genetic).
Her parents took her to her doctor so as to discuss what adjustments to her medication to carry the baby safely, both for her and the child. The doctor contacted adult protective services.
Elisa and her legal guardians want the pregnancy to continue. Judge Walker, however, initially said he could make that decision by rule of law and do so without a finding as to the fitness of the guardians or a termination of their guardianship. In essence, saying to a parent, "Yeah, sure you're doing a great job but I call the shots."
Previously, [the Bauers' lawyer, Jason] Guinasso said Judge Egan Walker did not have the legal authority to force Elisa to have the abortion or hold legal hearings on the matter. He said if the guardians, who want her to have the baby, are overruled in court, that Washoe County Social Services should have filed paperwork with the court as to why it was forcing the woman to have the abortion. Local officials have not done that.
He said previously: “There are no statutes that give this Court or Washoe County the authority to compel [the woman] to have an abortion. Such decisions are left to the sound discretion of the duly appointed guardian(s)… To date, Washoe County has utterly failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bauer’s decision to support [her] efforts to carry her child to term is unlawful or that they are not acting in a manner consistent with the best interests of [her] health and welfare.”
Let me ask you, if the Bauers had gone to their doctor and asked him the best way to terminate the pregnancy, would the State have stepped in?
I am very happy to see that the judge had a change of mind. Choice means you honor the choice for life as well as the other option. Pro-abortion activists argue that Roe v. Wade means the State cannot come between a woman and her doctor. Alrighty then - step aside and let Elisa have her baby.