CARSON CITY, Nev. A Nevada state judge says he has the authority to order an abortion for a pregnant 32-year-old mentally disabled woman, even against the will of her Catholic adoptive parents.
Washoe County District Court Judge Egan Walker didn't make a decision, but asked the Nevada Supreme Court on Monday to let him go ahead with hearings as early as Tuesday to collect medical evidence about the woman's case.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that Walker called it "illogical and contrary to law" to prevent him from gathering evidence to determine if an abortion should be performed.
In a case being watched by national anti-abortion organizations, the woman's parents want the state high court to stop the proceedings.
The parents argue that as their daughter's legal guardians, they have exclusive authority over her health care decisions. They cite their religious beliefs and say they want the baby to be born.
Six couples have expressed an interest in adopting the baby, the woman's parents said.
The parents say their daughter has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old. She was living at a group home when she became pregnant.
The couple concedes the pregnancy poses health risks to their epileptic daughter and the baby, but they say medical experts back them in their decision to continue the pregnancy.
A lawyer for the parents, Jason Guinasso, told The Associated Press it's not known whether the pregnancy resulted from rape or consensual sex.
The woman became pregnant 13 weeks ago after wandering away from a Reno group home. The father hasn't been identified, and the circumstances are being investigated by county officials. AP isn't naming the woman or her parents because the issue remains unclear.
At a court hearing last week, two medical experts testified the pregnancy carries risks because the woman has epilepsy and is on medication. They disagreed on whether the pregnancy should be terminated.
Deputy Washoe County District Attorney Dania Reid noted there has been no motion or discussion to order an abortion in the case.