Reno, NV, November 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – A doctor summoned by the judge presiding over a case involving a mentally handicapped woman who became pregnant under unknown circumstances has recommended that the court order that the woman’s baby be aborted.
Medical experts testified at a hearing Thursday in a court case that bears a striking similarity to one that arose in February of this year in Massachusetts. In that case a judge issued an order for a forced abortion on a mentally handicapped Catholic woman, although a public outcry subsequently led to the abortion order being overturned by a higher court.
The present case involves Elisa Bauer, 32, who suffers mental impairment and epilepsy because her birth mother drank alcohol while pregnant. She is eleven weeks pregnant. No one knows the exact circumstances under which she became pregnant, but those familiar with the case, including her adoptive parents and their lawyer, say she often wandered away from her group home and had sexual encounters with men at nearby truck stops and casinos.
Read more about the case, including an interview with Elisa’s parents here.
Her adoptive parents, Catholics Amy and William Bauer, who are her legal guardians, say Elisa wants to have the baby and give it to a married couple for adoption. They say they have lined up six willing couples to adopt the baby.
However, upon learning from Elisa’s doctors of her pregnancy, Judge Egan Walker ordered the Washoe County Public Guardian to launch an investigation. He appointed a guardian ad litem for Elisa. Thursday’s hearing was the first of two planned hearings to discuss her physical and psychological condition. Ultimately, the court may force Elisa to have an abortion.
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Deputy District Attorney Dania Reid, who represents the Washoe County Public Guardian, told LSN yesterday that their investigation was “not designed” to force Elisa to abort. After the story broke, she put up a news release emphasizing her clients’ role as investigators.
Reid would not deny the possibility, however, that the court will force Elisa to abort. She told LSN the judge, not the county, will be the “ultimate arbiter” of Elisa’s fate, and that of her baby.
Thursday’s hearing featured testimony from two different doctors. The doctor called in by the judge recommended an abortion because of the medication Elisa takes to stop her seizures, her overall medical condition, and the history of risky behavior that led to her pregnancy in the first place. The doctor called in by Bauer family attorney Jason Guinasso argued abortion has its own risks, and it is safe for Elisa to carry the baby to term.
Guinasso said Judge Walker wants to know whether Elisa has the capacity to consent to pregnancy and childbirth, or, if she does not, whether she would choose to carry to term if she did have the ability to consent. He says he believes the judge wants to force Elisa to abort her baby.
“We are literally dealing with a life and death situation,” he said. “I believe this Court intends to force Elisa to have an abortion over her objections and over the objections of her guardians.”
A second hearing is scheduled for November 6.