Parents Want Pregnant Mentally Disabled Daughter To Have Baby -- No Matter What

There has been a lot of contention around the issue of abortion this election year. One of the debate points is whether a woman who has been raped or who has medical complications would be exempt from being denied an abortion in the event that the procedure ever became illegal. Even those who land squarely on the side of being pro-life will usually admit that some exemptions, such as the 11-year-old girl who became pregnant by her mother's boyfriend, should be allowed. But what happens when you've got an adult pregnant woman who cannot make her own decisions about her pregnancy -- which may or may not have been the result of a rape -- because she has the mind of a 6-year-old?


A couple in Nevada have learned that their 32-year-old daughter, who is severly developmentally disabled, is pregnant. Apparently she wandered away from the group home she was living in and no one is exactly sure how it happened, or even knows who the father is.

The couple have legal rights over their daughter's medical decisions -- and they want her to have the baby. For one, they are Catholic and say they don't believe in abortion. For two, they claim their daughter wants the baby, too. They also say they realize there are health risks involved to both mother and baby, but they (and their daughter, presumably) are okay with that.

A judge, however, may disagree. The case has been brought before a district county judge, who will hold an inquiry into the situation. The couple has filed to halt the action.

Wow, this gets pretty complicated. I understand that the parents have legal guardianship over their daughter, but in most states, as long as a person is able to answer questions and communicate, she can have input into her health care. I think it's imperative that a third party -- one who is NOT the parents -- try to assess the situation and try to find out what the woman may want, despite the parents claiming they know what she wants. The daughter, after all, may just be telling the parents what they want to hear, or may not even understand the questions being asked of her.

The parents fear the state will "force" their daughter to have an abortion. But you have to wonder if their idea of "force" is whatever goes against their own wishes. If the parents think the state shouldn't bulldoze their daughter into an abortion, neither should they bulldoze her into giving birth.

Either way, this is a terrifically complex case with no clear-cut answer. One wonders how this woman managed to stay away from her group home long enough to find herself in this predicament. Definitely a tough situation for everyone involved.

What do you think the parents are right to try and keep this out of the courts?

Image via SashaFatCat/Flickr

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