A Nevada judge has ruled against forcing a mentally disabled Reno woman to have an abortion, an option he was considering against the wishes of her Catholic, pro-life parents. Thirty-two-year-old Elisa Bauer, who has the mental capacity of a six-year-old, became pregnant a little over three months ago after wandering from her Reno group home. Her parents and legal guardians, Bill and Amy Bauer, do not know if their daughter was raped or had consensual sex. The father has not been identified.
While Elisa and her parents chose to have the baby, social services officials from the county asked the court to get involved, arguing that a hearing was necessary to determine the potential negative impact the birth might have on both Ms. Bauer and her baby. The case ultimately went all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court, which denied a request from the parents to block Washoe County District Judge Egan Walker from conducting the hearings into the potential risks of the woman's pregnancy.
The Bauers “argued that the judge lacked the authority to terminate the pregnancy of their daughter,” reported Fox News. “They claimed they have exclusive authority over her health care decisions, and they want their daughter to carry the baby to term in line with their Catholic religious beliefs.” While the state high court ruled against them, Judge Walker agreed that while there were health risks for both the woman and her baby, expert witnesses said there wasn't a compelling medical reason to abort the baby. Walker said that he will hold additional hearings to determine the best way for all parties involved in the case to work together to ensure a safe delivery for both mother and baby.
Melissa Clement, president of Nevada Right to Life, expressed her relief that the judge had removed abortion as a possible outcome for the case. “We are pleased that Elisa will be able to carry her baby to term,” she said, “and that the court recognized that childbirth is a natural process and is the generally accepted course of treatment for pregnancy.”
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