Large numbers protest forced abortion decision outside Parliament

On Tuesday, Stand With Her held a demonstration outside Parliament in response to a ruling made on Friday 21st June, where Justice Nathalie Lieven ordered a woman with a learning disability who was 22 weeks pregnant to have an abortion against her will.

The demonstration was intended to show solidarity with the unnamed woman, her baby, her own mother and any other women who have been forced to have an abortion.

It is unlikely that this is a one-off case. Right To Life UK will be calling on the Department of Health to urgently reveal how many women have been forced by a hospital to have an abortion against their will in the UK, and make clear how they will ensure no women and family will ever have to go through this again.

After an appeal was brought forward on Monday 24th June, the Justice Lieven’s forced abortion decision was overturned. Instead, three Court of Appeal judges ruled that doctors must not perform an abortion on the woman with a learning disability.

While campaigners were pleased with this outcome for the mother, her baby and their extended family, they questioned how this ruling could ever have happened in the first place.

Speaking at the event, Emmi Egbonou, said: 

“What is shocking is that this was ever allowed to happen in the first place. The fact that the state can force a late-term abortion on a woman who did not want one is not the kind of state we want to live in. The fact that a judge could make a ruling to force an abortion on a vulnerable woman without her consent is a betrayal of the justice system and betrayal of the most vulnerable in our society. 

A forced late-term abortion would have been an irreversible trauma on the mother and would have ended the life of the baby that had been growing inside her womb for almost six months and, at 22 weeks, could survived outside the womb. 

We are here today to we stand with this woman. We stand with her baby. We stand with her family. We stand with every woman in the UK who has been forced by a hospital to abort their baby.

The Government must ensure no women and family will ever have to go through this again. We are here today to send a clear message to the Government. This must never happen again.”

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

“This is a very welcome decision that will save the life of the unborn child and the mother from a forced late-term abortion and much undue distress. However, the horrific original ruling should never have happened.

“Unfortunately, we fear that this is not a one-off case. We are calling on the Department of Health to urgently reveal how many women have been forced by a hospital to have an abortion against their will in the UK and make it clear how they will ensure it will not happen again.”