DA Rejected Abortion Request Because “We Wouldn’t Allow Her to Have her Breasts Reduced in This State”


The Oregon District Attorney that refused to allow pregnant Bridget Burkholder, who was being held after allegedly preparing to set a herself and a hotel room on fire, her requested abortion made his and his fellow legal team’s reasoning more clear in a recent News Register article, saying Burkholder was in no more of a mental state to choose to terminate a pregnancy than to decide she wanted a boob job.

District Attorney Brad Berry said the case raises very difficult issues.

First and foremost, he said, is the issue of Burkholder’s mental competence to make an informed decision with such long-term consequences. He said that allowing a mentally incompetent person to undergo any elective medical procedure raises potential red flags legally.

He raised the question, “If we wouldn’t allow her to have her breasts reduced in this state,” or have a benign tumor removed, how could she be allowed to choose an abortion? He said a guardian might have to be appointed to make that decision for her.

Deciding on abortion is like choosing a form of cosmetic surgery? Way to make it clear that not carrying a pregnancy to term is equivalent of an unnecessary, elective surgery often seem to be taken on purely for vanity’s sake.

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  • rachel-roth

    Thank you, Robin, for keeping us informed about this case of interference with a woman’s abortion rights. Unfortunately, jails and prisons all too often thwart women’s access to abortion care by imposing requirements that women would never have to deal with outside of prison walls, even though incarcerated women maintain their right to make reproductive decisions, as all the parties here claim to agree.

    The notion that abortion is “elective” impedes women’s access to care inside and outside of prison. Unlike many “elective” procedures, abortion is time-sensitive and constitutionally protected.

    This conflict in Oregon illustrates both the consequences of marginalizing abortion from other medical care and the unique problems of women in government custody.

  • eatgoodbread

    pregnancy is a choice as well, District Attorney Brad Berry. Women make all of these short term and long term and elective decisions all the time with their doctor, not you, because you’re not qualified and it’s none of your business.