The Massachusetts Appeals Court on Tuesday reversed a probate judge’s decision to order a schizophrenic woman to undergo an abortion and to then be sterilized, saying the woman had consistently expressed her opposition to the practice as a Roman Catholic.
According to the Boston Globe, in October, the state Department of Mental Heath filed a petition to have the woman’s parents named as guardians for the woman so they could give consent for an abortion. Norfolk Probate and Family Court Judge Christina Harms declared the woman not competent to make a decision about an abortion, and concluded she would choose to abort her pregnancy if she were competent. ‘
Earlier this month, Harms ordered that the woman’s parents be appointed as co-guardians and that Moe could be “coaxed, bribed, or even enticed … by ruse” into a hospital where she would be sedated and an abortion would then be performed, the ruling stated.
“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 this air,” wrote Appeals Court Judge Andrew Grainger. The court also said that the judge had improperly decided the matter of the woman’s competence, noting that a court-appointed guardian had determined she would decide against an abortion if competent.
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