Carson City, NV, November 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Egan Walker of Nevada’s 2nd District Court claims he has the authority to force a mentally disabled woman in Reno to abort her unborn child. He has urged the state Supreme Court to allow him to continue holding hearings in the case, after the woman’s adoptive parents sued to stop him.
Elisa Bauer, 32, is thirteen weeks pregnant. She suffers from epilepsy and severe mental impairment as a result of a birthmother who drank heavily while pregnant. Because of her condition, she is unable to care for herself. Her adoptive parents, Bill and Amy Bauer of Fernley, have had legal guardianship over their disabled daughter since she turned 18.
Caregivers at the group home where Elisa has been living notified the Bauers of her pregnancy as soon as they became aware of it. The father of her baby is unknown. Elisa is free to leave the group home, and frequently does so, both to participate in a work program and to visit area truck stops and casinos. It is unclear whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or a consensual encounter. It is also possible Elisa is legally incapable of consent, since her estimated mental age is six.
Judge Walker called the Bauers into court as soon as he learned of Elisa’s pregnancy from her doctor, who reported the situation to adult protective services. Amy Bauer told LifeSiteNews that he asked them what they planned to do about Elisa’s pregnancy, specifically whether they were considering abortion. The Bauers informed him that their strong religious faith prevents them seeking an abortion for their daughter, but that they have at least six qualified couples lined up who are willing to adopt her baby.
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Amy said the judge was dismissive, saying that their religion had no place in his courtroom. Asserting that he had the right as a judge to overrule their decision, he appointed a guardian ad litem for Elisa and ordered the Washoe County Public Guardian to investigate Elisa’s medical and psychological condition to determine whether she was capable of deciding for herself whether to abort.
The Bauers’ attorney, Jason Guinasso, filed suit in the Nevada Supreme Court last week to put a halt to what he called “rogue proceedings.” He argued that because Judge Walker has not sought to revoke the Bauers’ guardianship of their daughter or even called their fitness into question, he has no standing to override their decisions.
The Supreme Court agreed that Guinasso’s arguments had merit, and gave the lower court until Monday to respond to his arguments. Judge Walker has pressed his case. He maintains he has the authority to order an abortion for Elisa, and says it “would be illogical and contrary to law” to stop him from holding hearings to help him decide whether to do so.