Court Battle Ensues Over Pregnant Mentally-Disabled Woman in Nevada


It’s difficult to ascertain what exactly Elisa Bauer wants to do now that she has become pregnant. Elisa, who has the mental capacity of a six-year-old, is 11 weeks pregnant after leaving the group home in which she lives, and allegedly prostituting herself at a truck stop, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

According to Elisa’s legal guardians, who are adamantly opposed to abortion, she has said she wants to carry to term, and give the baby up to an adoptive couple. Elisa’s guardians have stated that they already have six potential couples lined up and willing to take any child, even one with special needs.

The court, however, has concerns. 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.

No woman should be forced to abort a pregnancy against her will. But this is more complicated, because it is not clear “will” can even be determined. Her neurologist testified that she said she didn’t want to have a baby. Her family disagrees and said she consented to pregnancy and adoption. Yet no one seems sure if she is able to honestly and in an informed way consent to either option.

Anti-choice activists are putting full force behind upholding the guardians’ legal rights. What is unclear at this point is who, if anyone, is advocating for Elisa’s.

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  • planetosea

    “No woman should be forced to abort a pregnancy against her will. But… ” This is as clear an example as any that the “pro-choice” side isn’t for “choice” at all. When push comes to shove; when a circumstance comes up that challenges the accepted premises, “pro-choice” is really “pro-abortion.” Elisa has “no clear ‘will’”? The fact that she’s in this situation should be proof enough that she has plenty of will. Beyond that, however, you think it is the government’s place to interfere with the decisions of her legal guardians. So you’re are against both the choice of the mother, and the choice of the mother’s mother. Thanks for shedding some light on where the pro-choice side really stands.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    You selfishly ignore Elisa’s serious seizure condition that pregnancy will severely worsen.  You oppose her right to life and health, then whine about pro-choicers standing up for her health over the fetus.  You just want to exploit her as a brood mare for your holy pedophile cult.

  • j-rae

    **you think it is the government’s place to interfere with the decisions of her legal guardians.**

    A legal guardian, whether just a rep payee or a guardian overall, has a responsibility to make good decisions.  When that doesn’t happen, then yes the government will step in.

    How do we know that the guardians made/make poor decisions?

    The developmentally challenged person was sexually active. This is the right of this person. The guardians had a responsibility to protect the mental and physical health of this woman as much as possible in the circumstances. They did not protect this woman and allowed her to have an unplanned pregnancy when they choose to stop her birth control without seeking alternate methods of birth control.

    This woman may well be forced to give birth. If this happens the child does not come under the control of the guardians, the child would come under the control of CPS. The guardians cannot sign away this child for adoption no matter how many people they have lined up. It is not their child.

    What a sad story and a totally avoidable one. Every day in this country BC is provided routinely for developmentally challenged women. It works well and doesn’t deny them the right to decide to have children at some point in the future. (if they are able to make this choice and many are)

     

  • ljean8080

    to HAVE  the baby.the goverment should butt out.

  • planetosea

    “A legal guardian… has a responsibility to make good decisions. When that doesn’t happen, then yes the government will step in.”

     

    If we’re going to give the government that much authority, why have guardians at all? It is clearly your disposition that the government is always capable of making good decisions, which, of course, history shows us is %100 accurate. /s

     

    The reason there is a legal category for “guardian” is so the government isn’t the one making difficult decisions that ought to be made by that guardian.

     

    “The guardians had a responsibility to protect the mental and physical health of this woman… “

     

    I don’t see anywhere that her health is any more compromised than it was before. The article doesn’t say that pregnancy necessarily increases the health risk with seizures, it only acknowledges that it could possibly pose a risk. If this is the standard we’re using for guardians protecting the health of those under them, the government needs to make sure nobody ever gets pregnant ever again. Being born seems a great risk for the person being born, as they will inevitably die, right? Besides, we’re no longer dealing only with the health of the mother, there’s a child growing in her womb who we now have to take into consideration. One life does not trump the other.

     

    “This woman may well be forced…”

     

    Forced? Where does it say this woman doesn’t want to give birth? The state is the one forcing her not to give birth. 

     

    I’ll agree that these guardians should have taken better care of Elisa, but having the state force a woman to have an abortion, and then have the pro-choice side wanting the state to force the abortion is just assinine, and I’m amazed you’re not owning up to the inconsistency. 

  • planetosea

    tf?

  • give-em-hell-mary

    If Elisa dies from predicted pregnancy complications, butt-inners like you should be arrested for using the fetus to cause her death.  Elisa has no mind of her own and will say whatever her guardians bully out of her.  I had a promiscuous mentally-challenged neighbor just like her who would agree to anything because she had no self-preservation boundaries.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    “The article doesn’t say that pregnancy necessarily increases the health risk with seizures”

    There was a similar case in Philly, and pregnancy-induced seizures were guaranteed to kill the mentally challenged woman living in a group home.  Her mother wanted her sterilized to avoid that risk and still accommodate her social freedom.

  • ljean8080

    the FAMILY.

  • j-rae

    **If we’re going to give the government that much authority, why have guardians at all? It is clearly your disposition that the government is always capable of making good decisions, which, of course, history shows us is %100 accurate. /s

     

    The reason there is a legal category for “guardian” is so the government isn’t the one making difficult decisions that ought to be made by that guardian.**

     

    A Guardian is appointed by the court. If you have a disabled child then you are their guardian until they reach legal age. If you wish to be their guardian after the age of 18 then you have to apply to the court. If appointed you agree to protect the person financially and physically as much as **reasonably**  possible.  Stopping birth control for this young woman was neither reasonable or responsible. The guardians were negligent in their guardianship.  

     

    **The article doesn’t say that pregnancy necessarily increases the health risk with seizures, it only acknowledges that it could possibly pose a risk.**

    Many anti-seizure medications are know to cause birth defects. Being on the medications does not rule out being pregnant, but it does call for a meeting with a neurologist and ob/gyn before attempting a pregnancy to minimize adverse medication reactions and any return of seizures during pregnancy. I am pretty sure that such a meeting did not happen here before this young woman got pregnant.  

     

    ** If this is the standard we’re using for guardians protecting the health of those under them, the government needs to make sure nobody ever gets pregnant ever again**

     

    Very few grown woman have guardians. (at least not since it was determined that woman were not property.)

     

    ** Being born seems a great risk for the person being born, as they will inevitably die, right? Besides, we’re no longer dealing only with the health of the mother, there’s a child growing in her womb who we now have to take into consideration. One life does not trump the other.**

     

    I never said one life trumped another. I said the guardians were not responsible in their stewardship. They were in fact negligent.

     

    ** Forced? Where does it say this woman doesn’t want to give birth? The state is the one forcing her not to give birth. **

     

    Her neurologist has stated that she said she did not want to have a baby. And the state has not ordered her to have an abortion or to give birth. They have appointed an attorney for her and are still evaluating.

     

     

  • planetosea

    Cool anecdotal evidence. One thing I know for sure is that an abortion will kill the fetus.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    And fetuses grossly maim and kill mothers.  Google obstetric bladder and bowel incontinence fistulas to get a clue why GOP men cheat on and dump their brood mares.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Elisa told her neurologist that she didn’t want to give birth, but you don’t care about what Elisa wants or can healthily withstand.

  • planetosea

    A Guardian is appointed by the court. If you have a disabled child then you are their guardian until they reach legal age. If you wish to be their guardian after the age of 18 then you have to apply to the court. If appointed you agree to protect the person financially and physically as much as **reasonably**  possible.  Stopping birth control for this young woman was neither reasonable or responsible. The guardians were negligent in their guardianship.”

     

    Why bother appointing a guardian if not to allow the freedom to make these decisions? I completely disagree that it is reasonable to the point of necessity to for the guardian to force this girl on birth control, and if it is negligent to not have her on birth control, how can the government come back and say they were negligent without ordering the guardians to do this in the first place? Again, it is within a guardian’s freedom to make these decisions, not for the government to step in and force an abortion after the fact.

     

    I never said one life trumped another. I said the guardians were not responsible in their stewardship. They were in fact negligent.”


    Again, that’s the point of having a guardian at all, to make these decisions. It’s not up to you, and it’s not up to the government. It’s up to the guardian and the mother. Saying it was negligent doesn’t make it so.


    Her neurologist has stated that she said she did not want to have a baby. And the state has not ordered her to have an abortion or to give birth. They have appointed an attorney for her and are still evaluating.”


    This is news to me, and it’s not explicitly stated in the article. If nothing else, the opposite is stated. Regardless, this is why there is a guardian in the first place, to overrule the poor decisions of those under their guardianship. My original point anyways was that the pro-choice side is no longer advocating choice, they’re advocating forced abortions, whether that means forcing it on the girl or forcing it on the guardians. This is supposedly the opposite of the entire premise of pro-choice.


    I will say that I do agree that it was irresponsible of the guardians not to prevent the pregnancy. This story seems incredibly difficult and sad, but it’s not the government’s place to step in here as decisions were made that the guardians had the freedom to make.

  • planetosea

    It’s not a reason to allow the government to come in and force an abortion in this case. The fetus is also not malevolent in these cases. You make it sound like fetuses do it on purpose. Evil little sack of cells! Amirite?

  • ljean8080

    if I am carring a fetus with Downs and don’t want to abort,should the goverment be able to force me too?

  • crowepps

    Got to say, not very impressed with the guardians here.  This woman may be 32, but she “suffers from severe mental and physical disabilities” and has the “reported mental capacity of a 6-year-old”.  Her parents have been appointed her guardians and have a great deal of power to control her life, yet they have left her in a group home with insufficient supervision from which she “often disappears”, they were more concerned about her birth control making her fat than they were about the serious consequences pregnancy could have on her epilepsy, and they haven’t intervened to protect her from the dangers inherent in prostituting herself even though the police were frequently involved.  Her medical providers are concerned about her physical condition and her medications, but the parents supposed acting in her best interests seem more concerned with the possibility of her medication having an adverse effect on the fetus whom she doesn’t have the mental capacity to take care of it it makes it through the pregnancy alive.  Most people would agree you need more sense than the average six year old to take care of an infant.

    In addition, it is a duty of their guardianship to file an annual report on her condition to the Court which supervises the guardianship, and they have failed in that duty.

    “The purpose of the evidentiary hearings at this time is merely to obtain information in order to make well-reasoned and informed decisions regarding the ward’s medical care,” justices wrote. “Under these circumstances, we conclude that the district court has not exceeded its jurisdiction or arbitrarily or capriciously exercised its discretion.”

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/court-allows-hearings-in-nevada-abortion-case-177560231.html

    If I were the Court and heard this list of failures, I would be holding evidentiary hearings to find out what was going on as well.  There may be someone else in her extended family available who would be willing to do a better job of safeguarding this woman.

  • crowepps

    The government has already stepped in here by appointing a guardian and giving that guardian the right to control someone else’s life.  The government has a DUTY to step back in and correct the government’s mistake of appointing an inadequate or neglectful guardian when that is necessary.

  • planetosea

    but forced birth control would have to be explicitly demanded, and it wasn’t, and rightfully so. The decisions were up to the guardian and just because you think it was neglect doesn’t make it so. We now have another situation where the guardian has a choice to make, and it’s the guardian’s to make. 

  • crowepps

    This woman was on long-term birth control, there is no indication she objected to that or was being *forced* to use it, and yet even though her guardians knew from the police that she was prostituting herself, the guardians said they were worried she might *get fat* and took her OFF the birth control.  Considering her mental handicaps and the risk to her health from the epilepsy, IMO that was highly irresponsible.  There is no way that her being overweight would put her at the kind of health risks that pregnancy would entail.

    The choice now is only one the guardians can make if the Court which appointed them decides they have been acting properly and in the best interests of their ward.  That is the purpose of the evidentiary hearing, for the Court to investigate whether or not the guardians are doing a good job.  If the guardians are putting their own interests first, are imposing their peculiar religious beliefs on a child-like person at risk of her health/life, or are using her situation to get themselves publicity as ‘more ProLife than thou’, the Court which appointed them can remove them and appoint someone else to be the guardian.  They do not OWN this poor woman, and she is not their toy, to do with whatever they like.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    So the government should stand aside while Elisa’s negligent, exploitive parents allow a fetus to possibly murder her?  Why do you hate Elisa?  Are you a pedophile priest who is icked out by women who live past their breeding years?  I don’t hate fetuses, but just because they turn you on doesn’t mean they should be allowed to threaten their hosts’ lives 100% of the time.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Dear, that is your choice.  If you want to risk your health, life, finances and home for such a child, that’s fine with me, and I hope a government safety net  provides for you both.  That is why I voted for Obama — he believes in supporting you both for your choices.  I am happy when my taxes keep the poor and disabled living on with dignity and safety.  Romney and Ryan would have removed your safety net to redirect my taxes towards the “more deserving” billionaires.  Capiche?

  • ljean8080

    have an abortion,starts down a road I am not sure we should go down

  • prochoiceferret

    letting the goverment order someone to … have an abortion,starts down a road I am not sure we should go down

     

    That would be Anti-Choice Street. And it’s not much better when you do a U-turn and go the way of letting the government order someone not to have an abortion.

  • ljean8080

    have a problem with this?

  • colleen

    Many of us don’t discuss complex issues with trolls.

  • crowepps

    As I understand the articles, they haven’t even had the evidentiary hearing yet, and so all that we can discuss are those facts in the articles regarding what has already happened.  At this point no abortion has been ORDERED on an unwilling person that I know of.  As I understand it the woman’s doctor, alarmed that the guardians had not only deliberately put this woman in a situation where she got pregnant but were intent on taking her off necessary medication, sounded the alarm that something hinky might be going on.

    At that point, the judge realized they hadn’t filed their report, and required them to show up and account for themselves.  They ran to the appeals court, protesting that they were the *guardians* and they were *entitled* to do anything they wanted to this woman.  The appeals court said the judge did have a right to investigate.  Now the judge will listen to expert testimony from doctors about the woman’s health, about her ability to understand what’s going on, about the effect on her health that a pregnancy will likely have and the effect that her medications might have on a fetus.

    The judge may not order an abortion at all, but instead order that even though she is pregnant her seizure medications should be continued because the risks to her of discontinuing them are more important than any possible risk to the fetus.  He may decide that her statement to her doctor that she doesn’t want to have a baby is HER choice about whether she wants to be pregnant, and that her parents can’t use the guardianship to coerce her into THEIR choice.

    I find it absolutely appalling that people are getting totally hysterical about the fact that her parents aren’t being allowed their ‘right’ in their position as court appointed guardians to use their profoundly retarded adult daughter as breeding stock even though she doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand what’s going on and it may ruin her health.  Some people apparently really do think women are just livestock.

  • j-rae

    I have decided to bypass the troll and just post this.

     

    Sex and the mentally challenged is a very misunderstood subject.

    When someone is labeled with the mentality of a 6 year old most people think that mentally they think like a 6 year old. Well, no the MC person doesn’t.

    A six year old is able to learn, read, learn right from wrong, follow direction ect.

    Most importantly a six year old can tell you what they want.

    A MC person who has the mentality of a 6 year old but is 32 can do all of the above but has a different perspective because they ARE 32. They are not vegetables unable to think.

    A 32 year old MC person would be expected to be sexually active. The days of locking MC people up and denying them normal experiences has long past.

    MC people can often be easily manipulated. They can be vulnerable. They deserve to be protected from poor decisions made by others that impact their mental or physical health. They deserve to recieve guidance that helps them maintain that health.

    If a MC person has a guardian who knows the MC person is sexually active but denies or stops birthcontrol then the guardian has made a poor decision. The ramifications for the MC person are huge. With a mentality of a 6 year old there is no way that the MC person can care of the baby on her own. Adoption is being offered as the solution by the family. But is it? Do they think that she will not notice that she had a baby and someone took it away? 6 year olds like babies. Will she want another to replace the one that disappeared?

    There are no easy solutions here. The whole mess appears to be caused by guardian negligence and the best way to start would be to appoint new guardians.

    No matter what happens this is not a pro-life/pro-choice problem, it is a problem on how we view MC people and whether or not we listen to their wishes or dismiss them.

     

  • give-em-hell-mary

    I had a promiscuous, drug-abusing MC neighbor who was difficult to converse with:  

    Me:  “Carol, is green your favorite color?”

    Carol: “Yes!”

    Me:  “Or is blue your favorite color?”

    Carol: “Yes!”

    Me:  “Carol, which is it — green or blue?”

    Carol: “Yes!”

    Now substitute abortion for color choice and the problem is clear.

  • j-rae

    I have a 4 year old granddaughter. If I ask if her favorite color is green and she says yes, then I ask if her favorite color is blue she will tell me “Grandma, I just told you Green!”.

    Each MC person is different and will have different abilities. Your neighbor can’t tell you her favorite color but can find drugs. Sometimes the courts must appoint a non-biased party to determine the ability of a MC person to make decisions.

    I will point out the use of “promiscuous”. Do we use this to judge sexually active MC women? Would we use the same term to discribe a mentally normal female neighbor? Actually, would we even pay attention to the number of sex partners a neighbor has if they are mentally normal?

  • crowepps

    I am alarmed by the woman in the article prostituting herself not on the basis of morals but instead the physical risk to her — men who like to hurt women are aware that prostitutes are despised by many people, including some police, and so are a group where victims may not be believed – prostitution exposes her to risk from men who are more likely to be dangerous and/or take advantage of her.  Certainly if the men were following sensible STD prevention methods, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant!

    My concern for any person who is *not* mentally normal is that they would be less aware of and less able to protect themselves from danger.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    My neighbor had very strict, doting adoptive parents who lavished her with tutors, etc.  Amazingly, Carol enlisted in the Army, squeaked through boot camp and lasted a few years there.  She kept her drug abuse and affairs with married and single soldiers secret from them, but told my sister because she had a pregnancy scare.  She was aware that her reckless partying could get her in serious trouble with the military.  Her wildness, especially with drugs and married officers, surprised me because she was livid with the drug-abusing foster sister her parents took in a few years earlier.  Carol couldn’t say no to any male who flirted with her, and that was very worrisome, considering how selfish and predatory many men are.  She had a brief disastrous marriage to another soldier, returned home, then struggled with the same colon cancer that killed her birth mother.  She sounded like a ghost in our last phone conversation.  I don’t know if she’s still alive.

  • thalwen

    It is a difficult subject because people with MC have such a variety of circumstances and different levels of understanding. Certainly there are people with MC who are able to enter sexual relationships and raise their kids successfully, then there are those who can’t either because of their lack of comprehension or the lack of proper supports or any number of issues.

    In this case, the woman in question wasn’t just engaging in sexual activity, she was prostituting herself and in at least one case the sex was unprotected or was a contraception failure. This isn’t a moral judgment, it is a safety issue. A MC person is vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation and is at risk not just for pregnancy but for violence, STDs and exposure to the criminal system. It isn’t just having her on birth control so she won’t get pregnant, she needs proper supervision and guidance for her own safety. 

    Whether or not she carries the pregnancy to term, the court is spot on in ordering a review of the situation. She is clearly in an environment that poses risks to her health and that needs to be remedied. If not, whether she has the baby or an abortion, she will go back to the group home and again be at risk.

    The issue of the pregnancy is up to the court to decide in her best interests and not in the religious interest of the guardians.