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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Can Judge Set Abortion for Mentally Disabled?

CARSON CITY, Nev. (CN) - A Washoe County judge says he has the authority to order an abortion for a mentally disabled and epileptic woman, against the wishes of her Catholic parents.

The 32-year-old woman has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old and became pregnant after wandering away from a group home in Reno, according to the Associated Press. The father has not been found, and it is unknown if the pregnancy resulted from rape or consensual sex.

Washoe County District Court Judge Egan Walker asked the Nevada Supreme Court to let him proceed with hearings to gather more evidence about the 32-year-old woman's case, the AP reported.

A Catholic couple who previously adopted the woman adoptive want the high court to block the proceedings, arguing that they have the authority over the woman's health care decisions.

While they concede that allowing the woman to give birth poses health risks, they maintain they already have six parents ready to adopt the newborn.

Walker says it's "contrary to law" to prevent him from gathering evidence to determine if the abortion should be carried out, The Las Vegas Sun reported.

Two medical experts testified last week about the health risks associated with pregnancy, epilepsy and medication. They disagreed on whether the baby should be aborted.

Walker asked the high court to let him continue with evidence hearings as early as Tuesday.

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