Share this article

print logo


A mentally ill woman who refused to have a court-ordered abortion has given birth to a boy.

Denise Lefebvre, who spent much of her pregnancy strapped to a hospital bed to protect staff from her violent outbursts, had the baby Wednesday, said her guardian, Kathleen Phillips.

The 5-pound, 10-ounce infant, who wasn't due until January, suffered no obvious ill effects from Ms. Lefebvre's medication for severe manic depression, Ms. Phillips said.

Ms. Lefebvre's ordeal drew the attention of pro-choice and pro-life groups, which united in support of her decision to keep the baby.

"It's a sad and happy occasion," said Ms. Phillips, who became Ms. Lefebvre's guardian when she was declared mentally incompetent in September. "We have a baby, but who knows what will happen to the baby. Denise is very ill."

Who will be the child's guardian has yet to be decided, but Ms. Phillips said the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services likely will take custody of the boy.

The birth at Broward General Medical Center will allow Ms. Lefebvre to resume powerful drugs she was taking before she stopped last spring for fear it would hurt her unborn child.

She quickly slipped into a deep psychotic state, prompting doctors at Broward General to seek a court-ordered abortion they said was necessary to save her life.

But Ms. Lefebvre insisted on keeping her baby, and in September, after the case bounced through south Florida's courts, a judge declared Ms. Lefebvre mentally incompetent and appointed Ms. Phillips to act on her behalf.

"She's very happy," Ms. Phillips said. "I don't think she realizes what will happen to the baby."

There are no comments - be the first to comment