Reno, NV, November 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – The Nevada Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that hearings can continue in the case of a disabled woman who may be forced by court order to submit to an abortion. Meanwhile, hearings continued in the case, featuring testimony from the woman’s neurologist, who said it is safe for her to continue her pregnancy.
Elisa Bauer, 32, suffers from epilepsy and mental impairment as a result of her birthmother drinking too much alcohol while pregnant. She is thirteen weeks pregnant, and her adoptive parents, Bill and Amy Bauer, who are still her legal guardians, made the decision to allow her to carry the baby to term. They plan to place the infant with an adoptive family.
Judge Egan Walker of Nevada’s 2nd District Court has challenged that decision, ordering an investigation into Elisa’s physical and psychological condition to help him determine whether to order an abortion for Elisa over the objection of her parents.
Last Thursday, the Bauers’ lawyer, Jason Guinasso, filed a motion in the Supreme Court to halt the case, arguing that Judge Walker lacks authority to overrule medical decisions made by Elisa’s duly-appointed legal guardians. The Supreme Court denied his request Tuesday, ruling that Judge Walker has the “continuing authority to monitor the welfare of the ward under Chapter 159.” The justices wrote that in their opinion, “purpose of the evidentiary hearings at this time is merely to obtain information in order to make well-reasoned and informed decisions regarding the ward’s medical care.”
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Those hearings continued Tuesday with testimony from Dr. William Torch, Elisa’s neurologist, who treats her for her seizures and other neurological issues. He testified that Elisa has been seizure-free for five years, and that he believes she can safely carry her baby to term without compromising the management of her epilepsy. He recommended she be removed from the group home where she was living when she became pregnant under unknown circumstances, and placed in a safer and more appropriate setting, such as with her parents.
Attorney Jason Guinasso expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the hearings to continue, but said he was pleased with Dr. Torch’s testimony.
“Ultimately,” he wrote in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews, “it seems the Nevada Supreme Court missed an important fact: the ‘medical decisions’ the District Court is going to make after the evidentiary hearings have concluded are whether the ward will be permitted to carry her baby to term or whether she will be forced to [have] an abortion.”
“In our view,” wrote Guinasso, “such health care decisions should not be made by a judge, but rather by the parents/guardians and their daughter/ward.” He added that the Bauers and their legal team are “mulling over” their options for appeal.
Guinasso said that Dr. Torch’s testimony was “very useful in establishing that Elisa’s pregnancy can be effectively managed to ensure her health and safety throughout her pregnancy.”
The next hearing is scheduled for November 14. The Bauers are scheduled to testify, along with staff from the group home where Elisa has been living, and a married couple who wish to adopt Elisa’s baby. The hearings will continue every week until the judge decides the case.
Judge Egan Walker, 2nd District Court of Nevada: (775) 328-3179
Jason Guinasso, Guinasso Law Ltd. (775) 853-8746