Judge won’t order abortion for pregnant woman with disability

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In a case that has drawn national attention from anti-abortion organizations, a Nevada judge decided November 13 to take abortion “off the table” in a case to determine how to assist a woman with disabilities with her pregnancy.

The 32-year-old woman at the center of the case, whose name is being kept confidential for safety reasons, has epilepsy and bipolar syndrome. In August, the woman, who has an IQ of 43, wandered from the group home where she resides in Reno, Nevada and mysteriously became pregnant.

In late September, officials with Social Services became concerned about her health. The Washoe County District became involved and began holding hearings regarding what was medically necessary for the woman’s health. When it became clear that the court might make an order for the woman to have an abortion, National Right to Life and other anti-abortion groups protested.

The woman’s legal guardians, whom are Catholic, strongly objected to the idea of an abortion.

At the hearings, two medical experts testified that carrying the pregnancy carries risks, but they split on whether she should have an abortion.

The guardians filed a request to to the Nevada Supreme Court to order Washoe County District Judge Egan Walker to halt the hearings. On November 6, the Nevada Supreme Court unanimously rejected the request.

The parties proceeded to reach an agreement to eliminate the option of a court-ordered abortion.

Judge Walker will continue to hold additional medical evidentiary hearings in the coming weeks.