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Nev. Judge Considers Whether Mentally Disabled Woman Should Have Abortion

Nev. Judge Considers Whether Mentally Disabled Woman Should Have Abortion

November 7, 2012 — A Nevada judge is considering whether a 32-year-old mentally disabled woman should have an abortion, the AP/Reno Gazette-Journal reports.

The woman's legal guardians, who want the pregnancy to continue, have said Washoe County District Judge Egan Walker does not have the authority to make the decision. They asked the state Supreme Court to block hearings in the case, but Walker argued that he should be allowed to hear the medical evidence.

The Supreme Court on Monday took no action to stop the hearings, which were scheduled to resume Tuesday (AP/Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/6).

The woman is 13 weeks pregnant and has epilepsy, bipolar disorder and other health issues. It is unclear whether the woman, who has the mental capacity of a six-year-old and lives in a group home, wants to continue the pregnancy. The details about how she became pregnant are also unclear, and the man involved in the pregnancy has not been identified (Dobner, Reuters, 11/5).

Arguments

Attorney Kim Guinasso, who represents the woman's legal guardians, said they do not want her to obtain an abortion because of their religious beliefs. The couple argues that they have authority over the pregnant woman's health care decisions unless the state removes them as her guardians (Glionna, Los Angeles Times, 11/5). Guinasso said that one doctor has determined it is safe for the woman to continue the pregnancy to term and that there are six couples interested in the adoption.

Court papers show that at least three other medical experts have said the pregnancy is too risky and the woman should have an abortion (Reuters, 11/5).

The woman's guardians have drawn the support of abortion-rights opponents nationwide (Los Angeles Times, 11/5).