A woman seeking an abortion without her husband's knowledge and a woman fighting to save her diseased unborn child with experimental drugs are challenging two Utah laws dealing with unborn children.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion in federal court asking that the new plaintiffs - northern Utah women known as Julie Spouse and Jane Freedom - be allowed to join Jane Liberty in her suit against Norm Bangerter.The ACLU will formally add the women to the case in an amended complaint to be filed Wednesday, said Jeff Oritt, attorney for the organization. The Deseret News obtained a history of the two new plaintiffs and their sworn statements.
Attorneys for Utah have not objected to the addition of the women. But they have asked for an additional week to file their answer to the Jane Liberty suit because of the added plaintiffs. The state's answer is now due May 23.
The ACLU is challenging Utah's new abortion law and two older laws: one requiring the notification of a spouse before an abortion takes place and the other prohibiting the use of experimental medicine on unborn children.
While the ACLU challenged the latter laws in its original complaint filed April 5, it did not have any women who could represent all women affected by those laws, Oritt said.
Now it does.
Julie Spouse is four weeks pregnant, separated from her husband and anxious for an abortion. The law requiring her to notify her husband harms her "because he is out of state and I do not know how to contact him," she said in her sworn statement. "I am afraid that if he is notified, my husband will be very upset, and there is a chance he would physically hurt me."
Her husband has hurt her in the past, Spouse said in her statement. The couple has discussed a divorce. She wants the abortion because "I do not want my child to grow up without a father."
Jane Freedom, on the other hand, desperately wants to give birth to a normal child. In her sworn statement, Freedom says she is four months pregnant with a baby girl suffering from the genetic disorder Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Freedom and her husband are carriers for the disorder and already have a son who suffers from it.
The disorder impacts the sexual development of children. "A female fetus with this order is frequently born with genital ambiguity and cannot be pronounced a girl or a boy at birth," her statement said.
Freedom and her husband intended to abort the fetus when they learned it carried the disease, she said. But their doctor told them of new, experimental treatments given a baby girl before she is born that usually prevent the development of masculine characteristics in the child.
Freedom is now receiving that treatment.
Freedom's son was not diagnosed with the disease until he was 4, her statement said. He suffers from advanced masculine development. The child is now five years old chronologically but 13 years old physically, Freedom said.
He is taking drugs that "will hopefully prevent acne, beard growth, body odor, aggression and sex drive from appearing during his upcoming kindergarten year and the following early elementary school years."
Freedom pleaded to go on with her treatments. "I need this treatment, which is prohibited by Utah's ban on fetal experimentation. Denying me this treatment during pregnancy could have devastating effects on the child that I will bear in a few months . . . My entire family joins me in making this plea for the health of our next daughter and sister."
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene has imposed a temporary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of all three laws until he determines their constitutionality.