Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-01-03

Mentally Disabled Florida Rape Survivor to Carry Pregnancy to Term

After much back and forth about the health risks of a pregnancy for a mentally disabled woman who became pregnant after she was raped while under the state's care, a Florida judge approved a decision made by the woman's court-appointed guardian to carry her pregnancy to term. Known only as JDS, the 22-year-old woman has the mental capacity of an infant and does not even know that she is pregnant. Patti Riley Jarrell, her court-appointed guardian, decided that it was in JDS' best interest to complete the pregnancy rather than have an abortion, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

Women's rights advocates have expressed concern over the court's decision. "JDS is a rape victim. She has the mental capacity of a toddler," Carla Josephson, president of the Orlando National Organization for Women told the Sentinel. "So I question how it can be in the best interest of a toddler to go through a pregnancy and delivery. None of this is improving her life." After JDS gives birth, expected within two months, the Florida Department of Children & Families will take custody of the newborn. The child will then most likely be placed in a foster home and put up for adoption.

In the meantime, Governor Jeb Bush is continuing efforts to appoint a guardian for the fetus that JDS is carrying. Although a Florida judge has already said that there is no legal basis for such a request - a ruling affirmed by a similar Florida Supreme Court decision in 1989 - Bush continues with what is a loosely veiled attempt to undermine abortion rights by granting legal personhood to a fetus.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Florida National Organization for Women have filed a 23-page brief with the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida opposing Bush's request.

DONATE: Stop the assault on reproductive rights

Media Resources: Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 6/27/03; Orlando Sentinel 6/26/03; Associated Press 6/25/03; CNN.com 5/30/03


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/21/2014 Flexible Work Requests Produce Fatherhood Bonus and Motherhood Penalty - According to a recent study, men who request flexible work schedules are advantaged over women who make the same requests. In the study by Dr. . . .
 
8/21/2014 Ugandan President Signs Law Making HIV Transmission Illegal - A bill that criminalizes HIV transmission has been signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Provisions of the law include possible imprisonment of HIV-positive individuals, a ten-year prison sentence and fine for the "intentional transmission of HIV," a five-year prison sentence for "attempted transmission of HIV," and compulsory testing in some situations. . . .
 
8/21/2014 Reproductive Justice Activists Testify Before UN About Health Care Discrimination - A joint study by three major women's health advocacy groups calls attention to the overwhelming disparity in health outcomes for women of color in the United States. . . .