Published February 21, 2012
A retired Massachusetts judge is defending her decision to order a mentally ill woman to have an abortion and be sterilized against her wishes.
Christina Harms is also criticizing Boston University for withdrawing a job offer after her ruling sparked controversy and was overturned by the state Appeals Court.
Harms, 58, who retired last month, defended her ruling in a letter she sent Monday to other Massachusetts family court judges, saying she believed the schizophrenic woman would have chosen to have an abortion if she had been mentally competent. The letter was first reported by The Boston Globe.
“I believed then, as I do now, that she would elect to abort the pregnancy to protect her own well-being,” Harms said, according to the newspaper. “She would want to be healthy.”
The 31-year-old woman, who suffered from delusions, had reportedly described herself as “very Catholic.” The woman had expressed opposition to terminating her pregnancy, according to the newspaper, while her parents sought consent for the abortion.
Harms claims that Boston University’s law school withdrew a job offer soon after her ruling became public.
The school said Harms was not the appropriate candidate for a job that required interaction with students, alumni and the judiciary.
“It was the reaction to the decision that gave us pause,” BU spokesman Stephen Burgay told the newspaper. “The more we learned about Judge Harms, the clearer it became that it was the wrong job fit.”