A couple years ago, a young Navy wife in the Navy port of Everett, WA was carrying a baby that was found to have almost NO brain.  She pled with a federal court to get the government to pay for her abortion, and she won.

Now, two years later, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the feds are still fighting her and want their money back!

[T]he federal government continues to fight her, trying to get the woman and her sailor husband to pay back the $3,000 the procedure cost and trying to cast in stone a ban on government-funded abortions. …

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The case of Jane Doe. v. the United States will be argued before a federal appeals court next month. Like the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, involving a severely brain-damaged adult, this matter involves questions of what is human life, when can family decide to end it and how far can the government go to block that decision.

Federal lawyers have aggressively appealed the Navy wife’s case, often using moral arguments against abortion. The case focuses on the Hyde Amendment regulations, which forbid use of public funds for abortions except if a mother’s life is endangered, or in cases of incest or rape — but not for lethal fetal ailments.

After a lengthy tug of war in which Jane Doe’s case bounced between two courts of appeal, on the East and West coasts, arguments will be heard April 8 before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in San Francisco. …

Thank god for the 9th Circuit.  There’s hope.  But it’s an unusual case:

“It’s a sleeper case that no one is talking about because it’s so far from over, but when it hits, it’s going to be a big one,” predicted Maureen Britell, former executive director of the now-defunct Voters for Choice lobby in Washington, D.C.

An Air Force wife, Britell filed the only similarly known case involving anencephaly, abortion and military health coverage 11 years ago. It is the case upon which Jane Doe’s is based — Britell v. the United States.

Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that causes a fetus to develop without a forebrain, cerebellum or cranium and which is 100 percent fatal to the fetus, although not to the mother, medical experts say.

The Everett woman, named Jane Doe in court documents to protect her privacy, has declined to be interviewed. She and her husband now have a healthy baby.

Sounds like she has a great advocate attorney, and the local federal judge — Tom Zilly — is a very sharp attorney (used to know him about 25 years ago):

Her attorney, Seattle lawyer Vanessa Soriano Power, has built the case on constitutional grounds, arguing that federal regulations violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution by denying abortion coverage concerning cases where fetuses, not just the mother, are certain to die.

“I can’t understand the impetus behind the government pursuing this case,” Power said of the time and expense federal lawyers have invested. Power, with lawyer Lisa Ratsinova, first argued the case successfully in 2002 as a cooperating attorney for the Northwest Women’s Law Center.

“This young woman didn’t have the money to pay for it herself,” Power said. “Her husband is an enlisted man, and she was essentially earning minimum-wage working at the Navy Exchange, and the procedure becomes more expensive and risky to the mother the further along the pregnancy is carried. We essentially asked the court to force the government to stop withholding payment.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly in Seattle agreed, issuing a strongly worded decision in February 2003 and ordering the military’s Tricare medical system to pay for the abortion.

But the battle continues.

Get this:  When the federal prosecutors argued that “the government could not pay for an activity contrary to the ‘moral objections of many Americans,'” Judge Zilly “responded that ‘this argument has no merit. The government funds many activities such as the death penalty over the moral objections of many Americans.'”

Thank god for some common sense.  What a further waste of taxpayer money and prosecutorial and judicial time.

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