Lest anybody think eugenics a completely dead issue, a Massachusetts appeals court just overturned a Judges abortion and sterilization order for a woman 5 months pregnant and labeled schizophrenic. The story was reported in The Boston Globe under the headlines Court strikes decision for mentally ill woman’s abortion.
Unbidden, the judge further directed that the 32-year-old woman be sterilized “to avoid this painful situation from recurring in the future.’’
The appeals court judge struck down this decision in what The Globe described as “unusually harsh terms.”
The personal decision whether to bear or beget a child is a right so fundamental that it must be extended to all persons, including those who are incompetent,’’ the opinion stated, citing a 1982 ruling by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
The woman, judged ‘incompetent’, had had a child previously, and she had undergone an abortion as well. She said she was very Catholic, and she would not consent to such a procedure.
Regarding the frequency of such court orders…
“My guess is it happens a lot more than we know,’’ he [Daniel Pollack, professor, Yeshiva University] said.
The records from this case have been sealed.
Thankfully the Appellate Court recognised, in this instance, when a Judge’s ruling had been way out of bounds.