A UK court has ordered that a mother with a learning disability who is 22 weeks pregnant must have an abortion.
The woman is understood to be in her 20s and has been diagnosed with having a moderately severe learning disability. The woman’s doctors claim that an abortion is in her best interests, despite the fact that the woman herself wants the child. Her social worker disagreed with the doctors and the woman’s legal team has said there was “no proper evidence” for their claim.
The pregnant woman’s own mother has offered to care for her grandchild when he/she is born and argued that her daughter’s doctors have “underestimated her ability and understanding…”. Mrs Justice Lieven, said that she believed it would be too difficult from the grandmother to look after both the daughter and the grandchild. The Judge said it was an “enormous” decision and that she was “acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn’t want it is an immense intrusion”.
After making this concession, she proceded to order that this woman have an abortion against her will. “I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.” Lieven clarified that the pregnancy “although real to [the woman], doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch.” Lieven’s claim that her decision is in the best interest of the woman and “I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” is extremely disingenuous.
In 2011, the judge represented the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain’s largest abortion provider, and in 2016 she argued in court that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were a violation of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act. In 2017, she said that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were akin to torture and were discriminatory.
Right To Life UK have launched a petition to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him to intervene in the case.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:
“This is a truly disturbing decision. The women herself wants to keep her baby. The women’s own mother has offered to care for her grandchild when they are born and has made it clear that she does not want her daughter to be forced to abort her child. The mother’s social worker disagreed with the doctors that have petitioned the court to abort the child against the women’s will.
We are calling on Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, to urgently intervene, and do anything in his power to ensure this woman is not forced to have an abortion.“
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- Over 40,000 people have signed a petition launched on the afternoon of Saturday (22 June) calling on the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging him to intervene in this case and doing all within his power to ensure this woman is not forced to have an abortion.
- For further information on Right To Life UK visit www.righttolife.org.uk