Court may force disabled Catholic woman to abort her child
RENO, NV, November 1, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A disabled woman in Reno, Nevada, may soon be forced by court order to abort her child against her wishes, despite the objection of her parents. A hearing is being held Thursday in Nevada’s 2nd District Court to hear testimony from medical experts in the case.
LifeSiteNews spoke to the woman’s mother, Amy Bauer, and her attorney, Jason Guinasso, about the events that led to the pregnancy and court case.
Elizabeth Bauer, 32, was born in Costa Rica, but adopted with her five siblings and brought to the United States by Amy and William Bauer of Fernley when she was 12. Elizabeth – known to those who care for her as “Elisa” – is disabled as a result of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Her birth mother drank while pregnant, leaving Elisa mentally impaired and prone to seizures. She is said to have an IQ of 42 and a mental age of six.
At age 18, still unable to care for herself, Elisa was entrusted by the court to her parents’ permanent guardianship. They have been responsible for her care ever since, first in their home, then at Chrysalis, a group home for disabled adults in Reno.
The exact circumstances under which Elisa became pregnant are unknown, but the young woman had a history of leaving Chrysalis to visit nearby truck stops and casinos, where she had sexual encounters with men. It is unclear whether these encounters were consensual, although Chrysalis staff suspect she had sex in exchange for money so that she could gamble. The nature of her mental impairment, however, suggests she is unable to legally consent to sex.
Concerned for their daughter, the Bauers worked with Chrysalis employees to try to stop her visits to the truck stops and casinos. They gave her a cell phone with a GPS tracking program, and tried to schedule more frequent home visits and other activities to keep her distracted. At the request of Chrysalis staff, the police opened a file and tried to follow her when she left the facility without a specific, safe destination in mind, concerned that she would forget to take her medication and suffer a life-threatening seizure. But the Bauers could not prevent her from leaving the group home without formally institutionalizing her – an option the family discussed and rejected because state law requires disabled adults to be cared for in the least restrictive environment that meets the needs of their disabilities.
Chrysalis employees notified Elizabeth’s family about her pregnancy as soon as they were aware of it. For the Catholic Bauer family, abortion was not an option, but they also knew Elizabeth would not be able to care for a baby herself. They reached out to their community and quickly lined up at least six families willing to adopt the infant, even if the child has special needs.
When they took Elizabeth to see her neurologist, Dr. William Torch, to find out how her anti-seizure medications might need to be adjusted to minimize harm to the baby, social services, and the court, got involved.
Concerned that she had been sexually abused, Dr. Torch called in Adult Protective Services to question the pregnant woman. Elizabeth’s story, Amy says, was inconsistent. At first Elizabeth said she had not been raped; then she told investigators “I said no, but he did it anyway.”
Soon after, the Bauers were summoned to court without explanation – and without a lawyer.
Amy Bauer says that she and her husband received notice on October 2 that they were to appear in court for an “informal status conference.” The couple assumed it had to do with their Annual Guardianship Report – a required yearly filing which William had prepared, but had not yet notarized or sent in. He sent it that day, and the Bauers appeared as requested on October 9.
That was when they realized the hearing was about much more than late paperwork.
Attorney Jason Guinasso says Judge Egan Walker confronted the Bauers about Elisa’s pregnancy. He asked what they planned to do about it, specifically whether they were considering abortion. When Amy and William told the judge that their Catholic faith prevented them procuring an abortion, Guinasso says the judge was dismissive.
“He said ‘I have inherent authority to [override their wishes] because the court appointed the guardians and they are agents of the court,’” Guinasso said. But Guinasso says that is a misreading of the law.
“There are no statutes that give this Court or Washoe County the authority to compel Elisa to have an abortion,” said Guinasso. “Such decisions are left to the sound discretion of the duly appointed guardians.”
He questioned what would happen if the tables were turned and the parents wanted the abortion. “If Mr. and Mrs. Bauer were abortion minded,” he said, “and decided Elisa should have an abortion, or they had decided to allow Elisa to use contraception and Washoe County Social Services had moral and ethical concerns about contraception or the efficacy of an abortion, neither Washoe County nor this Court would have authority to prohibit the guardians from allowing Elisa from using contraception or undergoing an abortion.”
At the hearing, the court appointed a guardian ad litem to advocate for Elizabeth. Said Amy, “I asked [the judge] what that was, and he said, ‘Oh, that has nothing to do with your guardianship rights. It’s just so that while the court is in session, he can talk to Elizabeth about what her wishes [regarding the pregnancy] are, and do research.’” The judge also appointed an attorney for Elizabeth.
Since then, there have been four more hearings. Amy says Elizabeth’s doctors are pushing for an abortion.
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Amy was horrified. “I tried to switch doctors, but the judge said, ‘No, you can’t do that right now,’” she says. “I never picked these doctors. I thought I had to use these doctors because she was on Medicaid, but apparently not. You can pick any doctor on Medicaid.” Still, says Amy, the judge told her that before she can find new doctors for her daughter, “You have to wait until this is over.”
Elisa’s pregnancy is high risk because infants born to mothers on anti-seizure medication have a higher rate of birth defects than the general population. But the vast majority of epileptic women have healthy babies, says Dr. Michel Czerkes, an OB/GYN at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine. “Monitoring and screening in pregnancy is the recommended course of treatment in pregnancy for a baby who has been exposed to an anti-epileptic medication,” he says, “not abortion.”
At first, Amy says, Elisa was adamant that she did not want an abortion. “I explained to her what an abortion was, and she didn’t say anything. I said, ‘What do you want?’ and she said, ‘I want to have the baby and take care of it.’” When Amy explained that Elisa could not care for a child, Elisa agreed that it would be better if a mother and father took the baby in, as long as she got to see the child sometimes. “I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl,” Amy recounts, her voice breaking.
Amy and William tried to bring Elisa home to keep closer watch over her care during her pregnancy. Again, the judge said no. “They’re trying to limit our contact with her,” Amy tells LifeSiteNews.
She says Elisa is confused since the court process began, and that Chrysalis staff told her that the more the social workers and doctors talk to Elisa, the more upset she becomes.
“Until they started talking to her,” Amy says, “she was very clear that she wanted to have the baby and come home.” Since the court case started, however, “she’s upset and crying…she doesn’t want to go to court. She doesn’t want to talk to anybody anymore.” Amy says she feels as if social services is pushing a pro-abortion view on Elisa, and it’s confusing her daughter.
“I don’t know what they’re telling her,” Amy said, “but I know the result.”
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Deputy District Attorney Dania Reid, who represents the Washoe County Public Guardian, the department responsible for investigating Elisa’s case. Reid denied that the investigation and court hearings are designed to force Elisa to abort her baby. Reading from the court order, she maintained that her clients are investigating Elisa’s “medical and psychiatric, psychological condition, care, maintenance, and placement.”
When questioned about purpose of the investigation, the attorney was silent for 24 seconds.
She then said, “The purpose is to file a report with the court detailing the findings and conclusions regarding the current personal condition of Miss Bauer.”
Asked if the court is seeking to revoke her parents’ guardianship, Reid replied, “That is not what this order says.” As to whether it’s possible that Elisa will be forced to have an abortion against the wishes of her parents, Reid said the court “will be the ultimate arbiter” in deciding the fate of Elisa and her baby.
A court hearing is scheduled for at 2:30 PM PDT on Thursday, during which Judge Walker will begin hearing testimony from medical experts. A second hearing is scheduled for November 6.
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Pro-life group asks: Pray for abortionists who sell baby body parts
February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This Lent, a pro-life group would like you to pray for an abortionist - specifically, an abortionist who facilitates the sale of unborn babies' body parts.
The Pro-Life Action League is asking for people to pray for three people in particular throughout the 40 days of Lent. All three were caught on video by the Center for Medical Progress.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola appeared in the first video released last July, sipping red wine and stabbing her salad as she discussed the dismemberment of aborted children, including where to “crush” their bodies for a "less crunchy" technique.
The second is Dr. Mary Gatter, who appeared in the second undercover video, haggling over the prices Planned Parenthood expected to receive for the aborted children's organs and tissue. At one point, she joked that she wants the revenue to pay for “a Lamborghini.”
And the third is Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who was also caught in the first video praising Dr. Nucatola.
Despite the shocking evidence uncovered by CMP, Richards has insisted her organization did not receive any profit for what she dubs its "fetal tissue donation program." She apologized only for Dr. Nucatola's "tone." She has since said that Planned Parenthood will not receive any remuneration for babies' body parts.
"These three architects of Planned Parenthood’s baby parts scheme have devoted their lives to the destruction and exploitation of human life in the name of ‘choice,’" said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. "If we won’t pray for them, who will?”
He asked Christians to pray for these three abortion industry profiteers - and for Richards, who is a post-abortive woman - in order to fulfill Jesus Christ's commandment in the Bible, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44).
“In God’s eyes, what abortion has done to these three women may be worse than what they’ve done to unborn children, who now rest in our Lord’s loving arms," Scheidler said.
For most Catholics, Lent began yesterday on Ash Wednesday, and lasts 40 days.
Texas AG faces ethics probe for defending conscience rights of natural marriage supporters
AUSTIN, Texas, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The attorney general of the state of Texas is facing an ethics investigation for having affirmed the constitutional religious freedom of state workers to decline to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it goes against their religious beliefs.
Attorney General Ken Paxton took steps to address the issue of conscience protection in his state before and after last June's Supreme Court's Obergefell decision imposing same-sex "marriage" on all 50 states, first issuing a statement the day prior clarifying that Texas law recognizes the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and recommending that state officials wait for direction from his office should the High Court move to redefine marriage.
Paxton then issued a statement two days after the ruling, his office allowing county clerks and their employees to retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and said as well that justices of the peace and judges would similarly retain religious freedoms.
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A month later, a group of some 200 attorneys filed a complaint asserting that Paxton's position encouraged officials to violate the U.S. Constitution and break their oaths of office, according to ABC News.
The complaint was dismissed at first by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas, but it was reinstated February 2 by a state Supreme Court-appointed appeals board, which contended that the complaint alleges a "possible violation" of professional conduct rules.
The appeals board decision to reinstate the case does not mean Paxton violated professional ethics, according to the ABC report, but does require him to respond to the complaint in conjunction with the investigation.
"The complaint has always lacked merit," said Paxton spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer, "and we are confident the legal process for resolving these complaints will bear that out."
Paxton was among several state officials across the U.S. who moved to ensure conscience protection in the immediate aftermath the Obergefell ruling, at times garnering the ire of homosexual activists.
Last July, South Dakota's attorney general granted permission to county clerks with conscientious objections to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as another clerk in the office would issue the license.
In a highly contentious case, Davis had asked for a religious accommodation allowing her office to issue altered licenses to homosexuals without her name on them, which was eventually granted by Kentucky's Governor Matt Bevin. However, the ACLU sued, seeking to force Davis to issue the old forms with her full name on them. A federal judge rejected the suit earlier this week.
Last year, homosexual activists sent harassing messages, including threats of violence, to Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk and his family after the Republican legislator sponsored a bill that would have given the state's business owners the freedom to follow their religious convictions in regard to homosexual "marriage."
Paxton faces penalties varying between a reprimand and disbarment resulting from the ethics complaint. The Texas attorney general is also facing securities fraud charges.
This pro-abortion billionaire may run for president
NEW YORK, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - He's an upwardly mobile, socially liberal billionaire whose political affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He's teased numerous presidential campaigns in the past, but this time he's talking like he's serious. And no, he's not who you think he is.
Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City, has confirmed to media sources that he is considering running for president as an independent in 2016.
Bloomberg told told the Financial Times this week that he finds American political "discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," and that he's “looking at all the options."
The 73-year-old tycoon was a registered Democrat before switching parties to run in the less contested Republican primary in 2001. He became a registered independent in 2007.
As mayor, Bloomberg governed as a social liberal who strongly supported abortion and the LGBT political agenda.
In 2011, Bloomberg signed a controversial gag order directed at crisis pregnancy centers. A year later, he endorsed Barack Obama's re-election, saying that abortion-on-demand is part of "the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there."
That's the same year Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand "reproductive health," including a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to overturn pro-life laws in four nations: Nicaragua, Sengal, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.
Mayor Bloomberg played a pivotal role redefining marriage in New York state, giving the four Republican state senators who voted for New York’s same-sex “marriage” bill the maximum campaign contribution allowed by law. One retired and a second lost his primary fight.
His strong emphasis on health regulations, such as attempting to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, did little to enhance his popularity and were deftly parodied by Sarah Palin. (A state court struck down the proposed regulation.)
The financial heft he could bring into the race, as well as his quirky politics, has tempted Bloomberg to enter presidential politics in the past. He considered a presidential run in 2008 and thought more strongly about a third party bid in 2012, after hosting the inaugural convention of the “No Labels” movement in New York City in 2010, but he backed off each time after not seeing a viable path to victory.
With an estimated fortune of $39 billion, he has said he would be willing to spend more than $1 billion on his campaign in 2016 - but he would only enter the race if the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and the Democratic Party nominates Bernie Sanders.
He called Jeb and Hillary Clinton "two quality” candidates and "the only two who know how to make the trains run." Jeb reciprocated last month, telling CNN that Bloomberg is "a good person, and he’s a patriot and wants the best for the country.”
At least one of his competitors is eager to see Mike run. "I hope he gets into the race," Donald Trump told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday night. "I'd love to compete against him...I would love to see Michael in the race."
That is likely because polling shows Bloomberg would draw most of his support from the Democratic candidate. "Although he is characterized as the New York counterpunch to Trump, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is more the nemesis of Bernie than he is of Donald," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Bernie Sanders would defeat both Trump and Cruz in a head-to-head match, according to Quinnipiac. But if Bloomberg entered the race, he would win 15 percent of the vote largely from Sanders, giving Trump a one-point victory in the popular vote (and narrowing Cruz's loss to one point).
However, he could throw a major wrench in the Democrats' electoral college total, according to columnist Pat Buchanan.
"Not only would Bloomberg lose the Big Apple, his statewide vote would come mostly from the Democratic nominee, giving Republicans the best opportunity to carry the Empire State since Ronald Reagan coasted to re-election in 1984," wrote Buchanan, who served as White House communications director during Reagan's second term.
“It’s not beyond imagining that he could get in and have an effect on the race,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, told The Hill.
Perhaps sensing this, numerous Democrats - including Senators Claire McCaskill and Jeanne Shaheen - have thrown cold water on a Bloomberg presidential run.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, said this week that an independent Bloomberg candidacy "won't be necessary" - because the Democrats already represent social liberals.
"I really think when he takes a good hard look, he will conclude that the issues that are important to him...[have] a natural home among our Democratic candidates," she said. "And so, I think Michael Bloomberg's agenda is well cared-for and advanced among our Democratic candidates, and his candidacy, I think he will find, won't be necessary.""
His entrance into the race would be a true injection of "New York values" - making him the third or fourth New Yorker in the race - alongside fellow billionaire Trump from Queens, the Brooklyn-born Sanders, and onetime New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
Annie Linskey, a reporter for the Boston Globe who once worked for Bloomberg, told Fox News on Monday that there is "about a four" percent chance that Bloomberg will run.