The judges questioned whether a ruling involving one woman might be interpreted to cover all expectant mothers in Florida.
The hearing before the 5th District Court of Appeal is significant because the Florida Supreme Court in 1989 decided in a landmark abortion case that appointing a guardian for a fetus was "clearly improper.''
A circuit judge followed that precedent earlier this summer in appointing a caretaker for the 22-year-old victim, who has the mental capabilities of a toddler. She was raped while in state care. She has been a ward of the state since she was three. She is now eight months' pregnant.
Edward Jordan, the attorney for potential fetal guardian Jennifer Wixtrom, told the three-judge panel that a conflict exists when a woman who cannot make her own decisions has a guardian and her unborn child does not.
One judge said: "Couldn't a guardian be important because the fetus is in danger of being abused by fetal alcohol syndrome, or if the mother is a heavy smoker or is overweight?''