A Nevada judge has asked to proceed with a controversial case ordering an abortion for a 32-year-old mentally disabled woman.
Washoe County District Court Judge Egan Walker asked the Nevada Supreme Court on Monday to let him go forward with hearings to receive medical evidence to determine if the woman's pregnancy should be ended, reports AP.
Elizabeth E. Bauer was living at a group home in Reno when she wandered away and became pregnant. It is not known if the pregnancy resulted from rape.
Officials say that Elizabeth has the mental capacity of a 6 year old and her parents claim exclusive authority over her health care decisions.
William and Amy Bauer are devout Catholics who claim Elizabeth told them she wanted to give birth to the baby, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
The couple filed a motion asking the Nevada Supreme Court to stop the proceedings, arguing the judge isn't authorized to make decisions about their daughters health.
“The man is an Anglican priest and the woman is Catholic and they say their faith dictates against abortion,” Kim Guinasso, a lawyer who along with her husband is representing the couple, told the Los Angeles Times.
“They are her guardians and, under Nevada law, are entitled to make healthcare decisions for their daughter.”
The Bauers acknowledge that continuing the pregnancy poses health risks to their daughter and the unborn baby, but they say they have the backing of medical experts. Six couples have reportedly expressed interest in adopting the baby.
An independent investigation by the Washoe County Public Guardian’s Office concluded that Elizabeth was not sure if she wanted to continue the pregnancy, reports the Sun.
The case has become a flash point for right-to-life campaigns who are awaiting the final decision.
Olivia Gans Turner, spokeswoman for the Washington-based organizations National Right to Life and American Victims of Abortion, told the Associated Press that the Bauers have the support of the pro-life community.
"This is a cause we support," she said. "It's definitely their right to protect their daughter's right to have a child and to protect the life of their grandchild. There's no reason for this woman to be subjected to the danger and risk of an abortion because someone else thinks she's not worthy of having a child because of her mental condition."