Good news for citizens of Nevada, this Christmas season: compassion is still lawful in your state, and life is still protected, thanks to a decision that has broad implications for you and your religious liberty, for the sanctity of life, and for families nationwide.
Some two decades ago, William and Amy Bauer of Fernley adopted six children from Costa Rica. All of the children were siblings, and all suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. As a result of that affliction, the second-oldest, Elisa, now 32, is mentally challenged, and has other physical challenges. Because of these issues, she lives in a group home as a ward of the state, although the Bauers remain her legal, loving guardians.
It’s been a rough few months for the Bauers. William is the rector of St. Columba’s Church, which recently burned down in an arson-caused fire. About the same time, the Bauers learned that Elisa had become pregnant.
She decided with her parents to give birth to the baby, and arranged for a private adoption. Six qualified couples expressed a strong interest in the child. But that beautiful opportunity to turn something sad into something good was quickly challenged by one of Elisa’s physicians, who decided that – because Elisa is mentally handicapped – the baby should be aborted. When Elisa and her parents refused to agree to that, he alerted local social services, who took them to court.
A district judge then took the unprecedented step of ordering evidentiary hearings on the case. Since no statutes give the court or the county authority to override Elisa’s legal guardians and compel her to have an abortion, the family enlisted the help of Alliance Defending Freedom. We were able to provide pro bono legal counsel through local attorney Jason Guinasso, and – thanks to the generosity of our Allied Ministry Friends – a grant to fund the case. Guinasso took the matter to the Nevada Supreme Court, and although they declined to stop the hearings, the district judge ultimately determined not to compel the abortion.
“No woman should be forced to abort a baby against her will,” says Guinasso. “Neither Elisa nor her parents want to kill this baby, and the government would have been completely out of bounds to force them to. I am grateful to Alliance Defending Freedom for all of their support in helping to bring about this positive outcome.”
“The court has done the right thing in respecting the will of Elisa and her parents,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. “The Bauers are caring, loving parents and fit, legal guardians. There is no legitimate basis for their voices to be ignored. Every innocent life deserves to be protected.”
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Please join me in giving thanks for the life of this child still in the womb, and in praying for all of our attorneys around the world as they work faithfully, diligently to preserve the sanctity of every life from the womb to the grave.
LifeNews Note: Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom.