Appeals Court Will Hear Disabled Woman’s Abortion Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Appeals Court Will Hear Unborn Child’s Guardian Case

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 1, 2003

Daytona Beach, FL ( — A state appeals court has agreed to hear the case of whether or not a guardian can be appointed for the unborn child of a disabled woman.

The 5th District Court of Appeals agreed Thursday to hear the case on August 21st.

The situation received national attention when pro-life Gov. Jeb Bush wanted to appoint a guardian for the unborn child of a mentally disabled woman, named J.D.S. in court files. She was living in a group home in Orlando at the time.

In June, Orange Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood appointed a guardian for J.D.S. but denied Jennifer Wixtrom’s request to be named guardian for the fetus. Wixtrom then appealed.

Patti Jarrell, the guardian for J.D.S., has recommended that J.D.S. have the baby, and Kirkwood has agreed with the plan for a birth.

Ironically, the arguments in the appeal may come after J.D.S. has given birth. She is due in August.

"While others may interpret this case in light of their own positions," Governor Bush said, "we see it as the singular tragedy it is, and remain focused on serving the best interests of this particular victim and her unborn child."

Abortion advocates say the court should overturn the request for a guardian because of a 1989 Florida Supreme Court decision calling such guardians "improper."

"We are encouraged and heartened to hear that the 5th District Court of Appeal has agreed to hear the reasons why we believe that the unborn child in this case warrants the appointment of a guardian," Bob Brooks, a spokesman for the state Department of Children & Families, told the Orlando Sentinel.

The case led to the firing of a DCF employee in July because she publicly disagreed with Bush and the department on the case.