ACLU petitions Illinois Supreme Court over county judge interfering with woman’s pregnancy care

The Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield. Photo by Tom Wray

The ACLU of Illinois on Wednesday petition the Illinois Supreme Court over Vermilion County judge assigning a guardian to a jail detainee’s fetus.

The legal advocacy group said that a county judge appointed a guardian ad litem for Angel Luster-Hoskins’s unborn fetus. Under 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. 

Luster-Hoskin’s is being detained at the Vermilion County Jail in east Central Illinois and is 38 weeks pregnant.

In a hearing last week in Danville, a local judge appointed the guardian, even though no one had requested it. The appointment, which according to the ACLU 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 the 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.”

The ACLU said that Luster-Hoskins has participated in physician visits related to her pregnancy over the past several weeks and has said that she does not want to be induced unless it is medically necessary. Vermilion County officials reportedly have attempted to coerce her into scheduling an induction, a step she has resisted.

A circuit judge reportedly chastised Luster-Hoskins in court and claimed she was insufficiently cooperative in her medical care. In the hearing where the guardian was appointed, the judge said she had a “honey-cocky” attitude and a “narcissistic lack of care and concern.” Luster-Hoskins’ attorney was not present for that hearing.

You can read the filing in this case here