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January 2012



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By John M. Grohol, PsyD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

“Mary Moe,” a mom with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in Massachusetts, hasn’t had a great past few months. In October, she showed up at a local hospital emergency room and was found to be pregnant. Mary Moe is on medication for her psychiatric concerns. Doctors who examined her in the E.R. concluded that taking her off the medication would be risky for her, given her pregnancy.

But unlike a lot of people with psychiatric disorders, Mary Moe apparently didn’t have the same freedoms you and I take for granted. Such as the freedom to decide what to do with our own bodies.

Or whether to give birth if we’re pregnant.

In Mary Moe’s case, the state Department of Mental Health intervened on behalf of Mary’s parents. They filed a petition to have the woman’s parents named as guardians. Why?

So the parents could give their consent for an abortion.

Then it got even more scarier when the case ended up in a local Massachusetts courtroom and the judge sided with the parents. And went one step further…


Mary Moe (a pseudonym) has been pregnant twice before. In the first pregnancy, she had an abortion. In the second she gave birth to the boy. The boy is now in her parent’s custody.

According to the report in The Boston Globe, at some point “between her abortion and the birth of her son, she had a “psychotic break’’ and has since been hospitalized numerous times for mental illness, court records say.”

Once you get into the public mental health system in this way, things can go downhill quick when it’s not just your life in the balance.

Norfolk judge Christina Harms, now retired, had to decide this gut-wrenching case. I would assume she might take into account Mary Moe’s wishes about wanting to keep the baby:

[Mary Moe] described herself to court officials as “very Catholic,’’ and said she would never have an abortion. When asked about an abortion at a December hearing, she replied that she “wouldn’t do that.’’


So what did Judge Harms rule?

Read More …


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