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Court Papers Served Too Late; Woman Has Abortion

March 5, 1985

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ A court order won by a man who wanted to keep his former fiance from having an abortion arrived too late to stop the woman from going ahead with the procedure, the man’s attorney says.

The attorney said he’ll decide in the next few days whether to take further legal action.

Charles Buel, 21, of Booneville, who says he was the father, cried when he learned of the abortion.

″After I had found out that my baby is in the Lord’s hands now .. I hope every other father will realize that they are part of the baby, too, and it’s just not the woman’s baby,″ he said.

″I just wish things had been different,″ he said. ″I still feel that the father has rights to the child just as much as the woman does.″

Buel was granted a temporary restraining order late last Friday by Dallas District Court Judge Van Wifvat prohibiting the unidentified woman from ending the pregnancy.

But the legal papers were served at the woman’s home after she had already left to have the 12- to 13-week-old fetus aborted Saturday at a clinic, said Buel’s attorney, Eric Borseth.

The woman’s lawyer, John Powell of Perry, would not comment on the case.

Buel and the woman had planned to marry last month but broke the engagement two weeks ago. When he found out the woman was pregnant and was going to have an abortion, Buel went to court.

Borseth said Monday that two options remaining would be suing the operators of the clinic or the woman, but he added ″chances are we won’t pursue″ legal action.

Cryss Farley, executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, said the organization was ready to provide the woman with legal representation if necessary.

She said Wifvat had no right to prohibit the abortion because the U.S. Supreme Court already has struck down laws requiring a husband’s consent for the operation.

″Every woman has a very basic constitutional right - and it’s been determined by the U.S. Supreme Court - to control her own body. The right to an abortion is a constitutionally protected right,″ Ms. Farley said.

However, the Iowa Fathers’ Rights Council Inc., which has supported Buel, disagreed with Ms. Farley.

″When the court says a father is responsible for the cause of a pregnancy and delivery of a child but his rights don’t start until after a child is born, that’s inconsistent,″ said president Richard Woods.

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