Thirty-two-year old Nevada resident, Elisa Bauer, has the mental capacity of a six year old. She lives in a group home under the guardianship of her parents and, a few months ago, she wandered away from the home and wound up pregnant.
Now her devout Catholic parents are fighting to block a Reno judge from investigating whether Bauer can safely carry her pregnancy to term because, as her guardians, they want her to continue with the pregnancy even at the risk of her health:
Elisa isn't just mentally disabled, but experiences sometimes life threatening seizures. A judge has stepped in to consider whether the woman should have an abortion to minimize potential risks to her health.
Despite Elisa's guardians, Reverend William and Amy Bauer, claims otherwise, it's a legitimate concern. In their own interview, they say that she needed to be tracked by the police when she made her frequent trips from the group home to nearby truck stops and casinos where she had sexual encounters (it's unclear whether the acts were consensual or not), so she could be monitored and ensure that she was taking her medication. Yet as soon as they learned she was pregnant, they took her to the doctor to see how her medicine may need to be changed to "minimize harm to the baby." Never mind those seizures.
Do the Bauers as her guardian have the right to make the final decision on her health? At this point legally, yes, that is exactly what guardianship is. But what if the pregnancy actually puts her in danger? It was her guardians' decision to take her off of birth control in the first place, worried that taking Depo-Provera was causing her problems with obesity. Moreover, they apparently feel the group home situation is sufficient protection for Elisa, while evidence that she continues to leave it and enter into dangerous situation suggests otherwise.
I don't pretend to know what's best for Bauer in this complicated case, but I'm glad the courts are investigating. As RH Reality Check notes, anti-choice activists are lobbying for the parents' legal rights to assume control of their daughter's uterus and make her push out a baby (seizures be damned!). Someone needs to ensure that Baeur's rights and health are given at least as much consideration as the contents of her uterus.