Court Rules No Guardian For Fetus

A Florida Appeals Court ruled on Friday that the state could not appoint a guardian for a mentally disabled rape victim’s fetus. Justice Emerson R. Thompson wrote that “we find no Florida statute or case law that has determined a fetus to be a person,” according to the New York Times.

Last spring, Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) intervened in the case when Florida’s circuit court denied requests made by those who wanted to prevent the woman from having an abortion to appoint a guardian for the fetus. The New York Times reports that some see Jeb Bush’s intervention as a way to satisfy conservatives and to win support for President Bush’s 2004 election.

Abortions rights advocates believe that Jeb Bush’s argument that fetuses deserve guardianship is a step towards preventing abortions broadly, reports that Miami Herald. According to Howard Simon, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, “When you set up a guardian for a fetus, you’re creating a situation with the mother and the fetus having competing legal rights…there was no masking that this was a crusade to change the law, to limit the rights of women and bring to the Supreme Court something that would overturn Roe v. Wade,” reports the New York Times.

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New York Times 01/11/04; Miami Herald 01/12/04

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