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Is This Judge Playing God?

Locked inside an Ohio jail is a 21-year-old pregnant woman who wants to have an abortion. Sitting in a nearby courthouse is a judge who won't let it happen, CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick reports.

"If you want to consider that playing God - doing my job - then yes I do do that," said Judge Patricia Cleary.

Cleary was assigned the case of Yuriko Kawaguchi, a student at Berkley who pleaded guilty to forgery in a credit card scam. It was her first offense and she appealed for probation so she could have an abortion.

"My client should be given probation. The law demands it. Justice demands it in this case," said her attorney, Linda Rocker of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But according to court documents, when she told Judge Cleary she was "planning" to have an abortion, the judge said, "she is not..." and sentenced her to enough time in jail to make an abortion illegal. Kawaguchi spoke to CBS News from jail on Thursday.

"She did not give me the right to choose. She pretty much dehumanized me. She took away all my rights," Kawaguchi said.

"If anything, I'm being very charitable giving her a minimum six-month sentence and trying to set her up with a social agency that will help when she is released from prison," the judge said.

When Kawaguchi is released in about a month, she'll be close to seven months pregnant, forced to have her child.

"A human being should make a choice to have a child or not. I mean, she is not me. She does not have to live through what I live through," Kawaguchi said.

Recent sentencing laws in Ohio urge probation for nonviolent first offenses, which this case is. But as in any court in the U.S., a judge always has the final say in sentencing.

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