Earlier this week, we wrote about Abbie Dorn, who suffers from a severe disability after being deprived of oxygen while giving birth to her now 4 1/2 year old triplets. Dorn has held her children just once since their birth, and is now embroiled in a California custody battle against her ex-husband, Dan, who argues that Abbie's disability renders her an unfit parent, and that he should therefore retain full physical and legal custody of their triplets.

Medical professionals have been involved in the case from the beginning. All of the children have been subjected to a psychological evaluation, which has been sealed and is not available for public viewing. In a neurological report performed on Abbie by Dr. Angela N. Hays, it was reported that Abbie is in a "minimally conscious state" and that it is highly unlikely that she will return to any form of her previous self.

Hays offered some hope for Abbie's future, writing that the disabled woman "can at least perceive images and sounds," although it is unknown whether Abbie can understand speech. Hays added that visitation with her children may do much to benefit Abbie. "I cannot exclude the possibility that [Abbie] may retain the capacity to recognize family members and derive some enjoyment from social interaction," Hays concluded.

But Dan has rejected the claims that Abbie should be part of her children's lives. In fact, he recently filed a new lawsuit against Abbie's parents, Susan and Paul Cohen, who are the arguing that they are wrongfully using Abbie's medical malpractice settlement for the custody battle in order to win grandparent custody of their grandchildren.

But according to Lisa Helfend Meyer, Abbie's attorney, the case comes down to parents with disabilities. Meyer recently told Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Frederick Shaller that Dan and his attorney are attempting to set a standard that "to see your children you have to have a certain IQ, can't be disabled or have a certain sexual preference."

"Even prisoners have the right to see their children," Meyer said. "It is in the best interests of these children to have a relationship with their mother."

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Disabled mother battling for visitation rights gets precious time with her kids", Maria L. La Ganga, 24 January 2011