Massachusetts Appeals Court rules judge was wrong to order mentally ill woman to have an abortion

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011
Massachusetts Appeals Court rules judge was wrong to order mentally ill woman to have an abortion
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Tue, 01-17-2012 - 9:16pm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

Utterly Flabbergasted.

That was my first response to the ruling that Norfolk Probate Judge Christina L. Harms made earlier this month. She wrote that the parents of a pregnant, 32-year-old schizophrenic woman known as “Mary Moe” could “coax, bribe” or even “entice” their mentally ill daughter “by ruse” into a hospital, where she would undergo an abortion and then a sterilization.

It sounds like something a judge might have ordered 100 years ago.

http://bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view/20220118logic_foundon_both_sidesof_this_issue

As pro-abortion as I am, I am appalled.

The author of this article goes on to say how his position softened when he got more detail - mine didn't.

Another article shares some disturbing details. What it says to me is that a judge who would order a mentally ill woman to be sterilized without her concent, was the lawyer for the agency that decides whether or not mentally ill women were allowed to have custody of their children. I can't imagine that many of her previous decisions were equallly bogus.

The family court judge, Christina Harms of Norfolk, Mass.,...decided sua sponte and without notice that Moe should be sterilized.... “No party requested this measure, none of the attendant procedural requirements has been met, and the judge appears to have simply produced the requirement out of thin air.”

Harms retired on Jan. 11, according to the Boston Herald. A Harvard law graduate, she is a former general counsel to the state Department of Social Services.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/appeals_court_overturns_judge_who_ordered_sterilization_for_schizophrenic_p/

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011

I'm a diehard choicer, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, but choice works more than towards aborting, and this is where I'm troubled by the initial ruling. I'll concede there might be times where a person's state is so egregious such a court ruling is necessary, but this one upset me a great deal, and I'm glad the Appeals Court reversed the decision.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

We had a spate of child abuse cases in Albuquerque recently which highlighted how unfit some people were to either be parents or to be in close proximity to the young and defenseless.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

If there is no chance of recovery from her mental illness, Mary Moe and/or her guardians should consider sterilization, regardless of her religion.

Just curious. What other illnesses that people could have would lead you to think that involuntary sterilization is a reasonable option?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

I am at a loss here.

What does sexual abuse and murder have to do with a pregnant woman who is delusional?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011

A big key here is an expressed preference. If one can do such a thing, than I think us wise to respect such a personal decision. I can see in extreme cases, where there is no evidence of cogntive decision making.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2006
I find myself in an awkward position..... I um.. Agree with you.

 


 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Child abuse is not limited to either murder or sexual abuse. I would say that your last phrase pretty well describes the peril all by itself: A pregnant woman who is delusional is hardly a fit parental candidate.

As regards your other question about who else might be qualified for involuntary sterilization, I don't make those judgements categorically.

Right now, there is talk on another iVillage board about the unfitness of Mitt Romney to be president based on his treatment of a family pet years ago. Do we really have that much more concern for an animal than we have for who would raise a baby or child?

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Another poster posited delusion in a pregnant woman. If that was Mary Moe's condition, I would say that cognitive decision making would not likely be the case.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Whoa. Cold front come through the east? Hell freeze over? LOL!

Jabberwocka

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