WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. — The parents of a mentally disabled woman have adopted their granddaughter after the child was spared from abortion during a court battle that could have ended in the termination of the baby’s life.
Bill and Amy Bauer are officially the adoptive parents of Cierra Marie, who was born in May of last year to their adopted daughter Elisa. In 2012, Elisa, who was 32 at the time but is stated to have the mind of a six-year-old, became pregnant. While some reports state that the woman had been preyed upon by a sexual predator, it is unknown as to whether or not she was raped as the woman had been sexually active.
Because Elisa has mental disabilities and other physical ailments stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome, the Washoe County Department of Social Services went to the courts to force the woman to have an abortion since she and her parents wanted to carry the baby to full term. The Bauer’s were summoned to appear in court to answer why they did not want their daughter to abort. According to reports, the couple explained that they believe that life begins at conception, and that no matter how the child was conceived, to abort her would be murder.
“There are no statutes that give this court or Washoe County the authority to compel Elisa to have an abortion,” said family attorney Jason Guinsasso. “To date, Washoe County has utterly failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bauer’s decision to support Elisa’s efforts to carry her child to term is unlawful or that they are not acting in a manner consistent with the best interests of Elisa’s health and welfare.”
Guinsasso also argued that while Elisa would not be able to care for the baby herself, adoption is a viable option. He said that others were not so gracious.
“[T]he court set up a series of hearings over the course of 40 days to consider whether to force Bill and Amy’s daughter to have an abortion,” he explained. “Indeed, the doctor summoned by the court stated at one of the hearings that the only compassionate thing to do was to sterilize the Bauers’ daughter and abort the baby.”
But in November 2012, Judge Egan Walker sided with Guinsasso and the Bauer’s, and removed abortion from the issues needing to be considered surrounding Elisa’s pregnancy. The case then turned toward the best care to provide to both mother and child in the months ahead.
“The Washoe County Family Court will not intervene to force Elisa to have an abortion against her wishes and those of her parents,” Melissa Clement, president of Nevada Right to Life, told reporters. “We saw the hearts and minds of the county officials and the judge change over the course of three weeks. What started as bureaucratic overreach seeking to quickly eliminate a problematic fetus ended as a recognition that two lives were at stake and that care must be taken to protect them.”
Last May, Elisa gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who was named Cierra Marie.
“She is five pounds and seven ounces and approximately 17 inches long,” Guinsasso reported following the birth. “She has a lot of dark hair and a nice pink skin tone. She is sweet and good natured. By all measures, she is perfectly healthy and sublimely beautiful. Thanks to your prayers several months ago, this is the child we helped bring into the world.”
Last Friday, Elisa’s parents, who adopted her years ago as a child, now also adopted Cierra Marie as their own.
“This case was a victory for American families,” Clement posted upon learning of the news this week. “If the court had ordered an abortion, it would have sent a clear and unmistakable message that courts can intervene in family matters to order an abortion against the family’s wishes.”