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Who has the right?

I don’t believe I have ever heard more about abortion and the rights of the unborn child as much as I’ve heard this year.

I have seen many Facebook posts and comments about Obama and his, according to some persons, “Legalisation of Genocide”, to others praising him for not allowing a law to dictate what a woman wants to do with her body since the decision to abort her child is totally and completely up to her.

Then there are those who believe solely in pro-choice. They don’t want babies killed; but there are exceptions to the rule for example, in cases of rape and incest. They believe the choice to abort is justified.

Of course, no one but God knows our life’s script and while we may hold fast to our convictions whether they are based on spiritual, moral or even political values, when our lives are turned upside down in a flash sometimes we make a decision we never thought would enter our minds. That aside, I know there are those out there who have some extremely strong views when it comes to the disabled having sex lives and being “allowed” to procreate. However, are those views justified in some instances? I’ll let you decide.

There was a recent case reported where the courts in Nevada had to make a decision whether a mentally challenged 32-year-old woman with the mental capacity of a six-year-old child who became pregnant, should be allowed to continue the pregnancy or abort it. Now that is a mouthful.

This young woman has guardians but lives in a group home and became pregnant after repeatedly leaving her group home and hanging around a truck stop for days at a time.

Instantly there are valid concerns which need to be addressed. Although all the articles which I’ve found out there gave practically the same information, none spoke about the baby’s father, so we’re left to assume that he made more than a truck stop at one point and is far gone probably without even the knowledge that his unborn baby is at the centre of a major dispute.

Also called into question is the care and obvious security — or lack thereof — of this group home. For those of you who are unsure of this definition, a group home is “a residence for persons (developmentally disabled individuals or foster children) requiring care, assistance, or supervision”.

How can a mentally challenged young woman just walk off the premises of an institution which is supposed to keep her safe and do so repeatedly for days at a time?

I think those who own and operate that facility should be called into question and be held accountable! If someone is deemed a “walker”, there should be strict measures in place to make sure that they bring no harm to themselves or anyone, and in this case she has done so, albeit unaware because of her mental state, to herself and her unborn child!

The pregnancy has also been called a high-risk one since there is the question of if the soon-to-be-mother would be able to deliver the baby. Carrying a baby to full term already has its risks for those of us who have been in that position before, and so explaining prenatal terms and everything which an expectant mum should know and be aware of is very difficult as she has little understanding of what is happening to her body — or at least explaining it.

So there was a call to have the baby aborted. However, after a series of hearings were done to determine the woman’s health and after she was questioned about what she understood about her scenario, a judge ruled that she be allowed to continue with the pregnancy.

Her guardians are very happy about the outcome and all parties involved (not sure who they all include) have agreed to abide by the decision. While this is just one of many other controversial scenarios involving disabled women, it does make you pause and think about the picture in its entirety.

For example, who will truly raise the child? Will there be bonding time given to both mum and baby or will that be stopped so the child wouldn’t grow attached to a mother who the child will mentally out rank in a couple of years?

Then there’s the call to sterilise women like her to prevent these “unwanted” babies. Is that fair to her and those like her or is it the baby who should be at the forefront of our minds?

However we feel, we must at the end of the day make sure that we don’t infringe on the rights of someone just because we think we know what’s in their best interest. Everyone has feelings, thoughts and opinions even if they can’t properly articulate them. No one really knows how this expectant mum really feels as she experiences life growing on the inside of her body, but one thing is sure, she must sense the awesomeness and miracle of that which she embodies.

In a perfect world these things would be unheard of. However, since that’s just a fantasy we need to do all that is necessary to protect those who are vulnerable and make sure that we make fair and comprehensive decisions when it comes to their lives, because at the end of the day they may know and understand more than we give them credit for. A lot more.

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