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Judge defends abortion, sterilization rule

Feb. 21, 2012 at 9:06 PM

BOSTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts family court judge has defended her ruling that a pregnant schizophrenic woman should have an abortion and be sterilized.

Christina Harms, who said Monday the 31-year-old woman would choose to abort her pregnancy if she was mentally competent, denounced Boston University for withdrawing a job offer, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

"I believed then, as I do now, that she would elect to abort the pregnancy to protect her own well-being,'' the judge said. "She would want to be healthy.''

Harms said she had all but signed the paperwork for a position created specifically for her, guiding students toward judicial clerkships, when the school rescinded the offer -- one day after her ruling on the woman known in court records as "Mary Moe." She said BU's decision could cause judges not to make unpopular rulings.

"It strikes at the heart of what judicial independence is about,'' she said. "We need to protect judges from the popularity of the moment.''

BU spokesman Stephen Burgay told the Globe the school never officially offered Harms the job.

"It was the reaction to the decision that gave us pause,'' Burgay said. "The more we learned about Judge Harms, the clearer it became that it was the wrong job fit."

An appeals court overturned Harms' ruling on "Mary Moe," whose parents sought guardianship over their daughter because she suffered from delusions and her anti-psychotic medication would harm the fetus. Her parents wanted consent for the abortion even though their daughter, who claimed to be "very Catholic," refused.

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