Baby R, (the British Columbia baby made a ward of the government before birth) now two months old, is in the loving care of foster parents. A family court custody suit ended July 17, at which time Judge Brian Davis stated that he would reserve his decision until September 3. The mother has filed an application to have the child returned to her care.
“Miss R, sadly is not able to care for herself, never mind a child,” testified Mr. Gove, Social Services ministry lawyer. “It is clear that she is drinking but she is not eating.” According to Mr. Gove, a medical assessment of Miss R done in 1982, suggested that she had sustained brain damage from drug abuse. She has also suffered from alcoholism and schizophrenia. At present Miss R resides in a tiny room in a skid row hotel.
Baby R’s mother is a 37-year-old former heroin addict, who has given up one child for adoption and had three others apprehended by the Social Services Ministry. But groups; including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), fear that anti-abortion forces in the provincial Cabinet may have a hidden agenda. They are requesting a review of the case, and the authority of the Social Services Ministry.
These groups have obviously missed the point – the protection of the child. The facts are that Miss R entered a Vancouver Hospital in labour on May 20, but refused treatment when told she would need a caesarean section to deliver the baby. Obstetrician Chrystol Zouves contacted the B.C. SSM and told officials there that the baby was at risk. The Social Services officials legally apprehended Baby R, believing the infant would require immediate treatment if it were born vaginally. Without Miss R’s consent it was necessary to make Baby R a ward of the state to commence treatment.