Judge Allows Disabled Florida Woman to Have Baby

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC


Judge Allows Disabled Florida Woman to Have Baby

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 25, 2003

Orlando, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida judge has allowed a severely mentally disabled rape victim to carry her baby to term. The woman has been at the center of a national abortion debate starting when pro-life Gov. Jeb Bush requested a guardian for the woman’s unborn child.

Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood approved a medical plan for the woman, known as J.D.S. in court records, that allows her to have her baby. The plan was recommended by the woman’s court-appointed guardian, Patti Jarrell.

"It is the guardian’s belief that completing the pregnancy/delivering the child is in J.D.S.’s best interest,” Jarrell wrote in a report to the judge. The woman is six months pregnant.

The doctors found that she was in good health and that her pregnancy was "unremarkable,” Jarrell wrote in the report. Two sonograms indicate no obvious abnormalities, Jarrell said. Doctors recently took J.D.S. off some prescription medications.

Pro-life organizations rejoiced at the news.

"We are very happy that the judge ruled in favor of life for JDS’ unborn child," Laura Eschaverria, a spokesperson for National Right to Life told LifeNews.com. "We commend Governor Bush for his desire to appoint a guardian for this baby and we believe that, as a result of todays decision, this child will be able to enjoy a very full life."

A representatrive of Florida Right to Life agreed and the organization submitted an amicuis brief along with the Liberty Counsel, a pro-life legal group, and the Christian Coalition of Florida.

"This woman has been assaulted once and we are pleased that she will not be assaulted again by the invasion of abortion," said FRTL’s Robin Hoffman.

The judge has rejected several times requests that a guardian be appointed for the fetus. "There is no basis in the statutes or case law for appointment of a guardian for a fetus,” Kirkwood wrote earlier this month.

The woman’s attacker has been unable to be identified because she was unable to consent for a DNA test until a guardian could be appointed for her.