Abortion For Disabled Woman? Judge to Decide

Thirteen weeks ago, a 32-year-old Nevada woman with intellectual disabilities and epilepsy, Elizabeth E.Bauer, became pregnant when she wandered away from her Reno group home in Reno. William and Amy Bauer, her adoptive parents and legal guardians, describe the woman as having the mental capacity of a 6-year-old and say that they want her to have the baby.

But a Washoe County District judge, Egan Walker, has said that he has the authority to order that the woman have an abortion, over the objections of the Bauers. The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that the judge can gather evidence “to make well-reasoned and informed decisions regarding the ward’s medical care” and to determine if her pregnancy should be terminated for the sake of her health.

As the Las Vegas Sun reports, the Bauers argue that they, as the woman’s guardians, should make the decision regarding her pregnancy. Citing their Catholic religious beliefs, they say that Bauer has told them she wishes to continue her pregnancy. Six couples have indicated they are interested in adopting the baby, says the Associated Press.

The Bauers say they are aware of medical complications for their daughter and for the baby. As they tell the Associated Press, medical experts support their decision. But the Washoe County Public Guardian Office has found that Elizabeth Bauer “could not make up her mind if she wanted to give birth,” says the Las Vegas Sun. The Public Guardian Office also stated that Bauer takes medications “that place both her and her fetus at high risk for a complicated pregnancy and the high potentiality of having a physically, neurologically affected infant birth.”

Other doctors who testified in court stated “varying opinions” about whether or not Bauer should continue her pregnancy or have an abortion, says Disabiilty Scoop.

Jason Guinasso, a lawyer for William and Amy Bauer, says that it is not clear if their daughter became pregnant through rape or consensual sex.

To say that Bauer’s case poses numerous ethical dilemmas is an understatement. What happened to Bauer is the nightmare of every parent of a child, of any age, with intellectual disabilities, including my husband and me for our teenage son Charlie.

In addition to medical concerns, at issue is Bauer’s cognitive ability. A full investigation should be undertaken about how she became pregnant and, indeed, if she was raped. Given what the Bauers say is her level of cognitive functioning, the trauma of her possibly being raped must be taken into account all the more, as well as her becoming pregnant.  Some serious questions must be also asked about the level of care for Bauer in the Reno group home. Why was she “wandering” outside it, apparently without staff accompanying her?

The focus on whether or not Bauer should have an abortion overlooks a simple fact. A woman with, according to those who are her legal guardians, intellectual disabilities, was possibly raped. Her care, safety and health must be take priority in whatever decision is made regarding her continuing with her pregnancy, or not.


Related Care2 Coverage

Is “Pro-Life” Just a Different Name for “Anti-Woman”?

‘My Disabled Grandchild is a Punishment for My Abortion’

Abortion is More Than a Choice

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Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

coming back to here. after http://www.care2.com/causes/a-brothel-for-the-disabled.html#new_comment

so, there are people who (I susspect this is all a case of blame the victem) say she had a habbit of wandering away. now, of course it is rape if she is gulible and be taken advantage of.

BUT, as I see in what I link, there are/will be places to caiter to the physical needs of even the mentaly disabled.

thus, if this woman with her disability needed sex, it would be best if safe places existed for her.

because then, it becomes "a right for the disabled to have sex"

or maybe they would just help those on low low low autism spectrum or the mildly retarded.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

I agree with Lisa, 6:48AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

A group home that let a person "wander off" should be investigated: They don't seem to have enough experience with mentally disabled persons. I also supect, that there may be an employee involved in the pregnancy.
A six year old can't legally and emotionally consent to anything, let alone intercourse and pregnancy. The religious beliefs of the adoptive parents have no bearing on this case. It's all about Elizabeth and her health. BTW, those six presumptive adoptive parents should not count their chickens yet. If one of the resons for Elizabeth to go full term is for them to have a baby to adopt, it's even more beside the point. When the guardians of Elizabeth looks more into their beliefs than the safety of Elizabeth, I will in this case, put my hopes on the judge to make the correct and safe decision.

Lisa Champ Paluck

Hopefully by now they have finished their investigation and know more about the situation of Elizabeth's pregnancy.
The judge can't wait forever to make a decision, so hopefully he will make the decision soon. Without knowing all the facts, I still think that someone with the mental capacity of a 6 year old that has epilepsy (that she takes medication for) is a high risk pregnancy, and should be terminated. It's not that the grandparents want to adopt the baby, but they have 6 couples who have expressed an interest in adopting him/her. Who's to say they won't all change their minds and the child will be a ward of the state forever........Just saying.

Morgan McDowell
Morgan McDowell5 years ago

I am truly convinced that abortion can save the life of the mother!

I don’t think other people have the right to tell any woman (no matter who is it) if they should have kids or not. If there are "normal" people screwing up as parents in the world, then why tell someone who is intellectually disabled that they can’t have one?

I don’t care what the parents say, I just think that psychical health of the mother are important. That’s what it all comes down to.

I’m not taking just the disabled woman’s side, or the parents side, but we do have to consider normal people that can’t care for a child too!

I’m not getting defensive, but there are plenty of worse people out in the world that can kill a child on purpose than a disabled person can by accident!

Its only fair, we shouldn't just force and abortion on her and we can't force her to accept parenthood either. So this is a very confusing subject for me and there are other things to consider that I have not asked.

Morgan McDowell
Morgan McDowell5 years ago

This is a tough one. Using my logic (that is if I have any), I will decide once and for all (considering my own opinion that is) if she should be able to take care of a baby.

First of all does the woman like children? -I might give her a chance on this one, but just because you like children doesn’t mean that you can take care of them responsibly. It takes a lot more than liking children to raise one.

Second of all, does she know how to care for one? - If no then no way! If she incapable of taking care of herself then how will she properly take care of a child?

Third of all does she even want children? –If yes then sure, but this goes back to wanting kids and liking kids and properly caring for them.

Fourth of all, can she provide for the child? – If not than no, why should a woman who is “normal” be able to provide for a child anymore than someone who has an intellectual disability? Many “normal” women end up neglecting their children; beating them and then having them end up in foster care.

She also has seizers, and that can be dangerous. Unless she is willing to take some kind of medication that won’t be harmful to the child, then she should get an abortion. We don’t want her to have a blood infection like that one woman in Ireland did (she wanted an abortion, but those doctors told her no because her fetus was “a life” and then she miscarried and died of a blood infection).

I am truly c

Lisa Champ Paluck

You have a mentally disabled woman with the mentality of a 6 year old, who isn't able to give consent for sex. She's on medication that could cause harm to her baby, and pregnancy under the best circumstances can be dangerous for the woman.
Her adoptive parents/legal guardians are doing a grave disservice to Elizabeth, and the judge should rule against them. It's a terrible shame that the court has to get involved at all.
Last, but definitely not least, Elizabeth needs to be removed from the group home and placed somewhere that can take care of her needs and keep her safe. It's even possible that one of the employees are responsible for her rape.

Doreen Patterson
Doreen Patterson5 years ago

Just where do you start?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

If the baby's grandparents want the baby and are both willing and able to take responsibility for it so it won't cost the taxpayers even if it winds up badly damaged by the prescribed medication the baby's mother needs to continue taking throughout the pregnancy, then let the grandparents have their way. The mother apparently is not able to give informed consent to anything, so it is at least statutory rape.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7zfJCW9Yco more FASD

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

she has the intelect of a 6 year old. meaning she is "not smarter than a 6th grader" or does intelect also include street smarts and decision making?

if she has the IQ of 64...well. some say IQ tests are choppy and shoddy and can be alterd and should not be an indicator of intelectual ablity.

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1032667/my-iq-is-64 she is fine


these people don't want people with low IQ from having sex. perpetuating the stereotype disabled people are/should be asexual with no desires and should refrain from pleasure with another person

anway, her IQ sets her as "mildly retarded" accoring to some sites but as we saw with that texan man, "even retards" can hold own families and raise children (and commit crimes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHdljXHemDM severe children

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_jEPgj1mHA see seems fine