Press Comment: Right To Life UK welcomes plans to extend redundancy protection period for new mothers

Following evidence that suggests that new mothers are still being unfairly forced out of work, the Government has revealed new plans to extend the redundancy protection period by a further 6 months. 

The Government also announced further details about establishing a taskforce to make recommendations on improvements on how to increase awareness amongst pregnant women and new mothers of their maternity rights.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Clare McCarthy said:

“This announcement is good news for new mothers as no one should be made to feel that their job is in jeopardy, just because they are pregnant or recently gave birth. Therefore it is encouraging to see these workplace protections being put in place in Government policy.

“We want to see the Government continuing to make these pro-women changes in policy to better support mothers and their babies. 

ENDS

Press Release: Overwhelming majority of public reject radical changes to abortions laws in England and Wales

22 July Polling from two separate ComRes polls reveals that proposals from abortion lobby groups for extreme changes to the abortion law in England and Wales are out of line with public opinion with the majority of people wanting more, not less, safeguards around abortion. 

Pro-abortion lobby groups are currently campaigning to remove almost all of the current legal safeguards around abortion provision in England and Wales.

However, polling shows that 72% of the public agree that the practice of abortion should be governed by the law and 67% agree that criminal law plays an essential role in protecting patients against medical malpractice.

Proposed changes to the abortion law by the abortion lobby would seek to remove abortion from the supervision of doctors. This is strongly opposed by the public with polling showing that 85% agree that patients who are at serious risk of heavy bleeding due to a medical procedure or powerful drug should have medical supervision, in person, from a doctor. 

Furthermore, medical studies have shown that taking abortion pills to procure a medical abortion comes with specific safety issues and higher complication rates than surgical abortions. A Finnish study found the incidence of complications after medical abortion was four times higher than surgical – 20% compared to 5.6%. Government figures for England and Wales show complications involving hospitalisation are more than twice as likely after medical abortions when compared to surgical abortions, 206 per 1,000 abortions for medical compared to 88 for surgical. 

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy said:

“The abortion lobby’s proposals are wildly out of step with public opinion on this issue with polling actually showing support for more restrictions on the current abortion law in England and Wales, not less. In fact, 70% of women polled believe that the current 24-week gestational limit for abortion should be reduced. In Britain, in most cases abortions can be performed until 24 weeks, far beyond the EU median of 12 weeks.

“If the abortion lobby’s proposals were to become law, it would bring about one of the world’s most extreme abortion laws in the UK. Such a radical change in the law is being pushed by small minority of pro-abortion lobby groups but is unwanted by the rest of the UK. 

ENDS

Press release: Court of Appeal forced abortion judgement released – baby was hours away from being aborted

12 July 2019 – The Court of Appeal decision that successfully overturned a court judgement, ordering a woman with a “moderate learning disability”, who was 22 weeks pregnant, to have an abortion has been released. The original ruling was made in the Court of Protection on 21st June, but was later challenged in the Court of Appeal on the 24th June and the appeal was granted

Given that the cut-off point for abortion in the UK is 24 weeks gestation, the appeal was heard urgently before the court as the woman was 22+ weeks pregnant. The court heard during the appeal that the abortion was to take place over three days, and that the first pre-operative assessment “was in fact being carried out whilst the parties were in court at the hearing”. 

The appeal was granted as the judgement ruled that “the evidence taken as a whole was simply not sufficient to justify the profound invasion of AB’s rights represented by the non-consensual termination of this advanced pregnancy”. It was decided that the abortion would therefore, not take place and the woman would now “give birth to her child by cesarean section under general anaesthetic at, or near, full term”.

The decision to grant the appeal was made heavily relying on two major points: 

  1. The judge’s conclusion from the Court of Protection was “substantially anchored” in medical evidence, however that evidence was “predicated upon imponderables” – AB’s likely emotional reaction to each of two traumatic events – and “did not in itself convincingly demonstrate the need for such profound intervention.”
  2. “Inadequate weight” was given to the non-medical factors of the case, including AB’s wishes and feelings which, though she lacks capacity, “can be determinative”. The judge also noted that it was a “significant omission” not to include the views of AB’s mother, her social worker and the Official Solicitor (who were all in agreement that the termination should not take place), in the final conclusion of the ruling from the Court of Protection.  

The Court of Appeal also brought to light the “well established” principle that “the court does not take into account the interests of the foetus but only those of the mother”.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy has said:

“Between the original ruling and the decision from the Court of Appeal, the life of the 22-week-old baby hung in the balance and was literally hours away from being aborted. In fact, the pre-operative assessment for the abortion was already underway. If this last-minute hearing did not take place when it did, this baby would not be alive.

“As the ruling from the Court of Appeal made clear, the right to life of the baby held no weight in court, as the “the court does not take into account the interests of the foetus but only those of the mother”. This is despite the fact that the baby, this late in gestation, would in some cases have been able to survive outside of the womb.

“Although it is a major relief that the Court of Appeal came to this decision, and that the forced abortion did not take place, it is a chilling case that demonstrates the power the court holds over life and death. 

ENDS

Press release: Forced abortion judgement released – 22 week old unborn baby considered “not a physical presence”

5 July 2019 – The full judgement outlining Justice Lieven’s decision to order a 24 year old woman with a “moderate learning disability” who was 22 weeks pregnant to have an abortion has been released. The hearing took place in the Court of Protection on 21st June, however the ruling was later challenged in the Court of Appeal on the 24th June and was successfully overturned.

Justice Lieven’s judgement from the Court of Protection has now been released. The ruling discusses the woman’s ‘best interests’, her capacity to consent to abortion, as well as the role the grandmother, a former midwife, might play in raising the child. In all 63 paragraphs of the ruling however, no consideration or weight is given to the rights of the 22-week-old unborn baby. 

The court judgement noted: 

  • Paragraph 18 –  The pregnant woman (referred to as AB for reasons of anonymity) understood that she “has a baby inside her, and that it will be born”. She could see her stomach grow and could feel the baby move. 
  • Paragraph 22 – NHS Trust witnesses thought that the late-term abortion would be “less traumatic for her than the baby being taken away” however the AB’s mother, who the Justice Lieven noted “knows her best”, thought that AB would potentially be “very upset about the loss of the baby”.
  • Paragraph 35 – Previous case law is cited concerning an abortion for a 14 year old girl. The judge in that case writes that such an “immensely invasive procedure” as a forced abortion, could not be justified to be ordered by the court “unless there was powerful evidence that allowing the pregnancy to continue would put the mother’s life or long-term health at very grave risk.” The ruling states that AB is “young and physically healthy” (p.48) and any risk to postpartum psychosis was speculative and it would be “almost impossible to assess the likelihood of this happening” (p. 24).
  • Paragraph 43 – AB’s social worker said that she believed it was in “AB’s best interests to have the baby”. 
    Paragraph 46 – Justice Lieven notes that she is “acutely conscious of the fact that for the state to order someone to have a termination, where it appears that they do not want it, is immensely intrusive”. 
    Paragraph 52 – Despite the fact that Justice Lieven accepts that AB “probably will suffer some trauma or upset from the termination” she thinks that it “will be a lesser impact than having the baby”.
    Paragraph 56 – Justice Lieven makes a differentiation between a “pregnancy” of 22 weeks gestation and a “real baby”, saying that if AB gives birth, it will be a “real baby” but while she is still pregnant it is a “pregnancy”, seemingly not a “physical presence”.
    Paragraph 60 – Justice Lieven believed that AB “would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll”.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy has said:

“A few very worrying things ring through from this judgement, one especially resounding thing was that the rights of the 22-week-old baby in the case were not considered in any way, or carried no weight at all in the judgement. A baby this late in gestation would in some cases be able to survive outside of the womb and yet Justice Lieven dismisses the baby as “not a physical presence”. 

“Despite the fact that the woman, supported by her mother and her social worker, made clear that she wanted the baby (p.26), and that Justice Lieven admitted that a court-ordered abortion is “immensely intrusive”, Lieven nonetheless imposed her pro-abortion agenda on this woman by overriding her wishes and ruling that she should be forced to have an abortion. It is a major relief that this ruling has been overturned but it should never have happened in the first instance.

“This ruling was a gross invasion not only on the rights of the pregnant woman but also on the right to life of the unborn child who the mother could feel growing and moving inside her womb.

ENDS