Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Judge can hold hearing to decide if mentally disabled woman should have abortion

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a District Court judge has the authority to gather evidence to determine if a mentally disabled woman should have an abortion, despite the objections of her adoptive parents.

The court said today that Judge Egan Walker of Reno could go forward with the hearing to determine the medical condition of Elizabeth E. Bauer and decide if an abortion is required for her health.

“The purpose of the evidentiary hearing at this time is merely to obtain information in order to make well-reasoned and informed decisions regarding the ward’s medical care,” the Supreme Court ruled.

The woman’s parents and guardians, William and Amy Bauer, said the 32-year-woman, who was at a group care facility when she became pregnant, told them she wanted to continue her pregnancy. They have argued they are the ones who should make the decision, not a judge.

The Washoe County Public Guardian Office, which conducted its own investigation, said Elizabeth E. Bauer could not make up her mind if she wanted to give birth.

The Public Guardian Office also found the woman 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.”

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