Jeb can’t keep his politics off of a woman’s body

June 12, 2003

a link to the original article, reprinted in its entirety below.

Compiled from Times wires
St. Petersburg Times
published June 12, 2003

ORLANDO – A woman who lost her bid to be the legal guardian for a mentally disabled woman who is pregnant from a rape has asked a court to appoint her the fetus’ guardian.

The attorney for Emelia Belford asked Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood to appoint her as guardian of the fetus for J.D.S., the name the 22-year-old woman is called in court records.

J.D.S., who has the mental ability of a 4-or-5-year-old, became pregnant after being raped in a state-licensed group home in Orlando. She is approaching her third trimester.

Belford had asked to be the woman’s guardian, but Kirkwood chose another professional guardian, Patti Jarrell, to make medical, legal and personal decisions for J.D.S. Jarrell is currently obtaining a medical evaluation for J.D.S.

Previously, another woman, Jennifer Wixtrom, asked to be named the fetus’ guardian, but Kirkwood denied the request, ruling that Florida law doesn’t offer any basis for appointing a guardian for a fetus. Wixtrom is appealing.

The case became the focus of an abortion debate after Gov. Jeb Bush and Department of Children and Families Secretary Jerry Regier, who oppose abortion, overruled regional child welfare officials and ordered them to seek a guardian for the woman’s fetus.

The regional DCF officials had said such an appointment would be illegal. Kirkwood said the same.

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