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Judge Could Force Mentally Disabled Nevada Woman to Have Abortion

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Sadly, tales of forced abortion are all too common in countries like China, where a one-child policy set by the government determines families' reproductive choices. And in Nazi Germany, people with mental or physical handicaps were subjected to involuntary sterilizations during one of the darkest periods in world history.

But you don't expect instances of potential forced abortion to come out of the United States of America.

However, reports in Nevada, "the life of an 11-week-old unborn baby and the future of his or her 32-year-old mother hang in the balance as a judge considers whether or not to order the woman to undergo an abortion and sterilization against her will."

Elisa Bauer is in the final weeks of her first trimester. She also has epilepsy and the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old as she suffers from severe mental and physical disabilities attributed to fetal alcohol syndrome. Elisa is reportedly the second oldest of six children adopted by William and Amy Bauer.

It is unclear exactly how Bauer became pregnant, though some family members fear she as raped. Nonetheless, the family has decided to keep the baby. has more details:

Since turning 18 in 1998, she has continued to remain under court-approved guardianship of her parents, who were given legal authority to make final decisions regarding her health and welfare, even as she lived in a group home.

While Elisa has maintained that she wants to carry out her pregnancy, she knows she will be unable to care for the child. The Bauers support her decision, are following all the prenatal protocol for high-risk pregnancies, and have already lined up six qualified couples who are eager to adopt Elisa’s child once he or she is born.

However, when Washoe County Social Services became aware of Elisa’s pregnancy, the department issued an informal report requesting that the Court set a status hearing to address the potential health effects Elisa’s pregnancy could have on her and her unborn child, and possibly override the mutual decision made between Elisa and her parents to have her baby.

Jason Guinsasso, the attorney for the Bauers, says that the court has no jurisdiction to intervene in any health-related decisions regarding Elisa — pregnancy included — because Elisa’s parents are the legal guardians. He adds that Washoe County Social Services Department must submit a formal petition based on substantial grounds to usurp guardianship before the County Court can get involved.

“There are no statutes that give this Court or Washoe County the authority to compel Elisa to have an abortion. Such decisions are left to the sound discretion of the duly appointed guardian(s)," Guinsasso said.

"To date, Washoe County has utterly failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bauer’s decision to support Elisa’s efforts to carry her child to term is unlawful or that they are not acting in a manner consistent with the best interests of Elisa’s health and welfare."

Fighting back against claims that abortion and sterilization are the only options for Elisa, the Bauers sought out medical experts to make their case.

After reviewing the facts of Elisa's case, Dr. Michael Czerkes, an OB/GYN at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, said abortion was not "necessary or prudent," reports.

“Monitoring and screening in pregnancy is the recommended course of treatment in pregnancy for a baby who has been exposed to an anti-epileptic medication, not abortion," he said. "The risk of having a congenital abnormality is increased when taking these medications; however the risk is not great enough to recommend the ending of the pregnancy.” reports that a Facebook support page has been created on behalf of the family to help get the word out about Elisa. Visit to learn more.

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