Florida Gov. Wants Pro-Life Law Allowing Guardians for Unborn Children

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Gov. Wants Pro-Life Law Allowing Guardians for Unborn Children

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 29, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Governor Jeb Bush will seek to have a law granting legal guardians for unborn children of mentally disabled women unable to make decisions for themselves.

"It is appropriate and necessary to have guardians for unborn children in these specific kinds of cases," Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said. "The governor is considering legislative options. That could include a bill. That could include something else."

The idea to seek legislative options follows the decision of Jennifer Wixstrom not to appeal her attempt to become the guardian of J.D.S.’s unborn child. J.D.S., who became pregnant from rape, suffers from severe retardation, cerebral palsy and autism, although her daughter was born healthy in August.

"In the case of a mom who has no capability of making a decision for herself, who has a guardian, there could be compelling or competing interests between an unborn child and a developmentally disabled mom," Bush said. "And in those cases I think it’s appropriate to give a judge the possibility of having a separate guardian. That’s all this is about."

Senate President Jim King (R-Jacksonville) said he is "very reluctant" to consider such legislation.

"I think the courts already decided on that," King said, referring to the 1989 Florida Supreme court ruling that said declaring a guardian for the unborn was improper. "I didn’t rule it out. I would be a very reluctant participant."

This would be the second time Gov. Bush has ventured to actively intervene on life issues in recent months. Last October, he issued an executive order to re-insert the feeding tube for Terri Schiavo after the Florida Legislature passed Terri’s Law granting him the ability to do so.

Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood put his comments into a judicial order in September and criticized Bush’s administration for exploiting the case of J.D.S., and said actions by the Florida Department of Children and Families have been "adverse" to JDS. He accused Bush and DCF of "exploiting JDS into a national debate on fetal rights and abortion."

"The goal of DCF at this point is to ensure the safety and well-being of Baby S," Jerry Regier, the head of DCF said. "I have directed our staff to do whatever is necessary to find a permanent loving home for the child."