ONTD Political

Case in NV asks who is to decide fate of disabled 32-year old's pregnancy

2:53 pm - 11/06/2012
BY ED VOGEL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU
Posted: Nov. 5, 2012 | 6:21 p.m.


CARSON CITY - District Judge Egan Walker can hold a hearing this morning into the health risks of the pregnancy of 32-year-old Elizabeth "Elisa" Bauer.

The Nevada Supreme Court made no decision Monday on a request to block the Reno judge from holding hearings at which he could order a mentally challenged woman to have an abortion.

He also plans to hold a hearing Thursday on Bauer's mental capacity. Her Catholic parents oppose abortion.

After Bauer's parents requested Friday that the justices prevent any more hearings, the judge filed documents Saturday with the Supreme Court stating that "because of the inexorable pace of biology, inaction was tantamount to action."

Justices rarely intercede in matters still in District Court.

If Walker orders an abortion, Bauer's attorneys will appeal immediately to the Supreme Court, they said Friday.

Bauer's parents, Amy and William Bauer, who adopted her in 1992, were appointed as her legal guardians when she turned 18. She has the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old and is an epileptic who suffers from seizures and has been living in a group home.

Bauer is in the 12th week of pregnancy. The father is unknown.

Bauer is thought to have wandered away from the group home, prostituted herself at a truck stop and become pregnant during one of those encounters.

The Washoe County Department of Social Services notified Walker about the pregnancy but in an Oct. 4 report stated that officials were not considering abortion as an option.

At a status conference a few days later, medical authorities said there was a health risk to the fetus because of the medications Bauer had been taking. According to the letter, she also has concerns about continuing the pregnancy.

The parents say that under the state guardianship law, only they, not Walker, are permitted to make determinations about Bauer's health. They also have complained that Walker refused to allow them to pull Bauer out of the group home and allow them to care for her in their home.

source
chaya 6th-Nov-2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
They also have complained that Walker refused to allow them to pull Bauer out of the group home and allow them to care for her in their home.

Maybe she feels she gets better care in the group home? Rare but possibly telling.

Bauer is thought to have wandered away from the group home, prostituted herself at a truck stop and become pregnant during one of those encounters.

This... is somehow a more reliable story than someone taking advantage of her?

Also, it's kind of sad that nowhere in this article does it mention what she wants to do about her own pregnancy.
miriamele 6th-Nov-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
THIS THIS THIS... I'm assuming they're not even consulting her because of her mental capabilities but... she's bound to have thoughts/concerns/feelings about it. They should be taken into consideration at least to some degree.

And uh, yeah, I think it's FAR more likely that she was taken advantage of... and the fact that this means it is likely due to group home negligence makes me even more angry. MEh.
fragrantwoods 6th-Nov-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
I hope they do consult her. I think someone with a mental capacity of a six year old could have an opinion on their pregnancy. That shouldn't be an automatic rule-out. And it's her feelings that will need to be addressed, whatever happens.
chantalzola 7th-Nov-2012 06:36 am (UTC)
The article is poorly written, but I think they're referring to Bauer in this sentence? 'According to the letter, she also has concerns about continuing the pregnancy.', In which case they have consulted her.
chaya 6th-Nov-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
In the defense of the group home, it's possible that she was victimized by a visitor to another housemate. (I have no idea what happened, of course, but the idea that she got pregnant because she conveniently saw Pretty Woman on tv and got it into her head to prostitute just doesn't seem as likely as her getting taken advantage of either inside or outside of the house.)
evilegg 6th-Nov-2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
And that perhaps the group home doesn't want that baby born and paternity tests carried out? That's my thought.
fragrantwoods 6th-Nov-2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
They could still do paternity tests even if she does have an abortion, is my understanding.
teacup_werewolf 6th-Nov-2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Well don't you know intellectually disabled people are actually permanent children that can't make any choices without the permission of their caretakers...

<.<

Edited at 2012-11-06 11:16 pm (UTC)
roseofjuly 7th-Nov-2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Dear God, that's exactly what I was thinking, one about it being far more likely that someone raped her, and two that it's sad that nowhere in this article is what she wants to do.
tiddlywinks103 7th-Nov-2012 12:24 am (UTC)
Well, actually...

At a status conference a few days later, medical authorities said there was a health risk to the fetus because of the medications Bauer had been taking. According to the letter, she also has concerns about continuing the pregnancy.

I mean, it's sandwiched between everyone else's assumptions, but I think she doesn't really want a baby, which makes me skeptical she initiated sex on her own with fucking truck drivers, especially with her disabilities.
beokitty 7th-Nov-2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Who knows regarding the "prostituting." I work with individuals with developmentsl disabilities and the taboos that surround sex and what we would term "prostitution" (sex in exchange for goods/services) aren't understood by them in the same way. Sex feels good & you also get a ride? Food? Money? Why not! Sounds like a good deal.

I've worked with several individuals who have engaged in what would be considered prostitution but didn't understand that's what they were doing, couldnt understand why why it was dangerous or that it was illegal... so it's not unthinkable that she may have had admitted to engaging in those behaviors. It's not like they are walking the streets looking for johns, usually they are propositioned & just kinda go with the flow - easily manipulated.

The thing I find most interesting about this article is the legal implications for individuals who aren't their own legal guardians. My agency typically advocates for individuals to be their own legal guardians to make their own decisions as often as possible (since they usually have very little control of their own lives anyway its almost always a moot issue in reality).

The thing I find interesting in this case is that this individual was capable of leaving her group home and traveling elsewhere, surviving out on her won for some period of time (even if only for days) & the idea of the "mental capacity" of a six year old is ridiculous, intelligence is far more complex. She must be capable of ambulation, communication, etc - a fair amount of autonomy. The interesting legal question is at what point does the state decide to take over legal guardianship where the long term legal guardians are othewise capable and involved.

Her parents could easily convince her to go with what they feel is right regardless of the consequences (cause she may not understand the consequences)... So while her input is essential, being she is not her own legal guardian it cannot be the only consideration. If her parents are willing to sacrifice her life for her unborn child in the name of religion... God, this whole story makes me so sad.
miriamele 6th-Nov-2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
Ugh that this happened to her to begin with. : (

I'm sure I have more to say about it but today is filled with too many feels to process.
belleweather 6th-Nov-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this. My only thought about this was "that poor woman". There is no part of this that does not likely suck for her. :(
bananainpyjamas 6th-Nov-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
I fully admit that my knowledge of and experience with developmental disabilities is very limited, but I'm not comfortable with forcing anyone to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy they don't want. I wish the article made it clearer whether Bauer wants an abortion or not (beyond "she has concerns about continuing.")

Also side-eyeing the author for the "prostituted herself" part, ugh. I'm sure those men were just paying customers and in no way took advantage of someone vulnerable.
thelilyqueen 7th-Nov-2012 12:08 am (UTC)
Situations like this are always tough, and I'm not sure there can be *a* rule given how wide a range of people are considered to have developmental disabilities. To me, the critical point is whether or not she has the capacity to truly appreciate the risks she's taking by continuing the pregnancy even if they have to be explained to her in simple terms. If she does, it should be entirely up to her. If not, I kind of feel like someone else has to step in at that point because she's not able to give informed consent either way. Who that 'someone' should be... way above my pay grade.

And, yeah, MASSIVE side-eye on that.
beokitty 7th-Nov-2012 12:58 am (UTC)
way above my pay-grade

ikr? idt anyone could pay me *enough* to make legal-moral decisions for other humans.
hermyfan 6th-Nov-2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
I don't even know what to say, this entire thing is just so sad. She has the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old - I can't get past this. I hate that this happened in the first place.
fragrantwoods 6th-Nov-2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
I wonder how long she was gone from the group home before she was located? That's pretty disturbing, too, and makes me wonder if there were other shortfalls in her care.
And I wonder what her parents'/guardians' stance was on birth control?

So sad--I hope someone can determine more about what she wants here. And that charges can be pressed against whoever raped her.

aramuin 6th-Nov-2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
"Bauer is thought to have wandered away from the group home, prostituted herself at a truck stop and become pregnant during one of those encounters.
"

Am I the only one seriously side-eying this line?

If she has the mental capacity of six-year-old, then wtf were her carers doing that they didn't notice her wandering away?
tiddlywinks103 7th-Nov-2012 12:20 am (UTC)
Bauer's parents, Amy and William Bauer, who adopted her in 1992, were appointed as her legal guardians when she turned 18. She has the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old and is an epileptic who suffers from seizures and has been living in a group home.

Bauer is in the 12th week of pregnancy. The father is unknown.

Bauer is thought to have wandered away from the group home, prostituted herself at a truck stop and become pregnant during one of those encounters.


How fucking convenient that someone with the mental capacity of a 6-year old does not know to stay indoors at her group home, yet can 'prostitute' herself at a truck stop. Smells like bullshit, and it's sick that her parents can take her out of the home, where I think she was raped by one of the employees. This smells of coverup, and the abortion aspect just makes it worse. I want to scream.
tabaqui 7th-Nov-2012 12:45 am (UTC)
PROSTITUTED HERSELF?

What in fucking hell. No, and no, and fucking no. Jayzus christ.
sio 7th-Nov-2012 01:12 am (UTC)
"thought to have wandered away from the group home and prostituted herself"....um i doubt that. more like an employee raped her and the home wants to cover it up.
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