ILLINOIS – In an emergency petition filed early this morning, the Illinois Supreme Court has been asked to intervene on behalf of a woman being detained at the Vermilion County Jail after a local judge appointed a guardian ad litem for her unborn fetus. Under clear Illinois law, a fetus has no independent rights, and the appointment of a guardian ad litem interferes with the pregnant woman’s health care decisions.
The filing comes in the case of Angel Luster-Hoskins, who is 38-weeks pregnant and currently detained in the Vermilion County Jail. In a hearing last week in Danville, a local judge appointed a guardian ad litem for her unborn fetus – an appointment that no one requested. The appointment, which has no basis in Illinois law, allows another party to interfere in Luster-Hoskins medical decisions.
“Under the Illinois Reproductive Health Act, our client has the right to make her own decisions about her pregnancy,” said Ameri Klafeta, Director of Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project at the ACLU of Illinois who filed the motion on behalf of Luster-Hoskins. “She does not lose those rights – and she should not be forced to have medical care – simply because she is detained in Vermillion County.”
“The Supreme Court needs to vacate the appointment of a guardian and make clear that she has the right to make her own medical decisions without interference.”
Luster-Hoskins has participated in physician visits related to her pregnancy over the past several weeks. She has said that she does not want to be induced unless it is medically necessary. Vermilion County officials have attempted to coerce Luster-Hoskins into scheduling an induction, a step she has resisted.
Over the past several weeks a Circuit Court judge has repeatedly called on Luster-Hoskins to account for her medical choices in open court, and chastised her about supposedly insufficient “cooperation” with her medical care, and for what he has deemed an inappropriate “attitude.” Last week, for example, the judge “re-admonished” Luster-Hoskins in a hearing from which Luster-Hoskins’s attorney was excluded. During the hearing the Court scolded Luster-Hoskins, telling her she had a “honey-cocky” attitude and a “narcissistic lack of care and concern,” and appointed the guardian ad litem.
Since that appointment, the Court has suggested that the guardian should receive Luster-Hoskins's medical records, invading her privacy and confirming that the goal of the appointment is for the guardian to be involved in decisions related to Luster-Hoskins’s medical care.
“Each day that our client sits in the Vermilion County Jail with the guardian in place, she lives with the concern that her medical decisions are going to be overridden by someone else,” added Klafeta.
“We are asking the Court to move quickly to vacate this unnecessary and unsupported appointment and allow her to make her own decisions about her pregnancy.”
You can read the filing in this case here.