Mentally Disabled Woman’s Caregiver Wants Forced Abortion

State   |   Paul Turner   |   Nov 2, 2012   |   11:43AM   |   Reno, NV

A Nevada state employee who says he’s worked for years with a pregnant, developmentally disabled woman says she needs to be allowed to abort her baby so her rights can be protected.  A court is trying to force the issue against the wishes of her adoptive parents.

Allen Whitenack is listed on the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services website as an administrative assistant with the State Health Division.

In response to a posting of the earlier article about Elisa Bauer and her baby on the Reno Gazette-Journal Facebook page, Whitenack said he had spent “countless hours” with Elisa and did not believe she was capable of taking care of a baby, and would fight for her right and that of the developmentally disabled to “have a choice in their life [sic].”  He also dismissed several offers by couples wanting to adopt Elisa’s baby as making Elisa “a surrogate for rich white people.”

Whitenack called for those who set up a Facebook page supporting Elisa and her baby to delete it, and asked why they weren’t fighting for equality for all people, not just unborn children.  See all of Whitenack’s comments here (warning: language).

According to court documents from Elisa Bauer’s neurologist Dr. William Torch, Elisa “stated that she did not want to have the baby” and “she wanted to be taken to the Emergency Room to ‘take the baby out.’” Her parents dispute these and many other findings in Dr. Torch’s report to Washoe County Family Court Judge Egan Walker, dated October 8, 2012.  They also claim the court has violated due process in the case.

Reverend William Bauer and his wife Amy, of Fernley, Nevada, adopted Elisa from Costa Rica in 1992 at age 12, along with her five siblings.  Now 32, she has the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old.  Elisa lives in a home for those with developmental disabilities, and has a history of fleeing the home for sexual encounters which may or may not have been consensual. The identity of the father is unknown.

William Bauer says after Dr. Torch informed Judge Walker of Elisa’s pregnancy via Washoe County Adult Protective Services, he and Amy were called into court because the court wanted to “protect his daughter’s rights.”  Then, Bauer adds that Walker quickly told them, “Your deeply held religious beliefs are irrelevant.”  Bauer is the rector of St. Columba’s Traditional Anglican Church in Fernley, which recently suffered a fire.

The court has appointed two guardians ad litem for Elisa, both of whom say she is incapable of making decisions about her health.  Bauer believes the court regards him and Amy as negligent for letting Elisa get pregnant, and unless they do what it wants, they may lose their guardianship.

Dr. Torch also cites Elisa’s history of seizures, medications to treat them, and her obesity as justifications for possible abortion and sterilization.  Bauer says Elisa has been seizure-free for eight years, and the medications aren’t a danger.  A Reno OB-GYN and four OB-GYN’s from Pennsylvania concur in letters to Bauer, and add that he and Amy were wise to have Elisa stop taking the contraceptive Depo-Provera because it contributed to her obesity.

Dr. Torch could not be reached for comment.  He was supposed to appear in court Thursday for a hearing in which the Bauers’ pro bono attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund would cross-examine him, but his office manager says Torch was stranded in New York City following Hurricane Sandy. Another hearing is scheduled for next week.



A phone call to Washoe County Adult Protective Services was not returned.

Eventually, the Bauers’ attorneys expect to take Elisa’s case to the Nevada Supreme Court.

LifeNews Note: Paul Turner is a Sparks, Nevada free-lance writer, a media coordinator for 40 Days For Life Reno-Tahoe, and a 10-year veteran of radio news, last working for News Talk 780 KOH in Reno.