Human Exceptionalism

Nevada Court to Force an Abortion?

I have never heard of such a thing;a case involving a guardianship/ward health issue initiated via an informal meeting with a judge, about which the guardian was not given notice and there was no emergency pending or allegation of abuse. But that appears to be what happened in Reno as county officials are apparently seeking court oversight about the best interests of a developmentally disabled woman, with at least the potential that the court could order an abortion. From the FNN story:

The woman was living in a Reno group home when she wandered away from it and became pregnant 13 weeks ago. The child’s father has not been identified, said attorney Jason Guinasso, who represents the Nevada couple. Guinasso said it’s unknown whether the pregnancy resulted from rape or consensual sex, and The Associated Press is not naming the woman or her parents because it remains unclear. The circumstances are under investigation by the county public guardian’s office. “Does she understand all the risk? I doubt it,” said Guinasso. “But we do know the guardians understand the risk, and they’re the ones given the authority and responsibility to make the decision. They have a perfectly healthy baby and mother.”

Six couples have expressed an interest in adopting the baby, they woman’s parents said. At a court hearing Thursday, two medical experts testified that the pregnancy carries risks because the woman has epilepsy and is on medication. But they split on whether the pregnancy should be terminated. Last month, the judge denied the couple’s request to allow the woman to move back home with them and to halt the proceedings.

Deputy District Attorney Dania Reid stressed there has been no motion or discussion to order an abortion in the case. She noted Walker appointed the county public guardian’s office as a “neutral fact-finder” to investigate the pregnant woman’s condition in regard to her medical, psychiatric and group home care. “It’s not the county’s role in this case to make any findings of conclusions whether or not this pregnancy should continue,” Reid told The Associated Press. “That’s entirely up to the court.”

This matter really bears watching. If a court orders an abortion opposed by the parents/guardians of this woman, and the woman herself (who is not capable of informed consent)–absent clear and convincing evidence that the pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the woman’s life–after all, women with epilepsy give birth all the time (although that isn’t the extent of her problems as I understand it)–we will have entered territory once inhabited exclusively by China. 


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