British Judge Orders Forced Abortion Against Wishes of Mother, Grandmother

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A British judge has ordered a Catholic woman with developmental disabilities to have an abortion at 22 weeks despite the objections of the woman and her mother.

“I am 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,” Justice Nathalie Lieven said in her ruling in the Court of Protection on Friday, reported Catholic News Agency (CNA).

“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” Lieven continued, however, asserting that her decision was in the woman’s best interests.

The woman is under the care of a National Health Service (NHS) trust in the United Kingdom. She is reportedly in her 20s and, according to the report, “believed to have the mental capacity of a grade school-age child.”

Her mother is Nigerian and a former midwife, and made clear to the court the family is Catholic, opposed the abortion, and that she would assume responsibility for her grandchild.

According to a report at the Catholic Herald, while the woman’s doctors claimed an abortion was in her “best interests”, a social worker who helps care for the woman disagreed with forcing her to have one.

The report continued that the woman’s legal team argued there was “no proper evidence” to show the need for a forced abortion.

Though her lawyers accepted the woman’s developmental disability prevented her from giving or withholding consent, the woman’s mother said the doctors “underestimated [her] ability and understanding, and that more weight should be placed on her wishes and feelings.”

Currently, an investigation is underway as to how the woman became pregnant.

“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” Lieven decided of the pregnant woman, adding she did not believe the woman’s mother could possibly care for her own daughter and the baby at the same time.

Lieven said she also did not believe the woman could tolerate giving up her baby for adoption or foster care, adding that once the woman had a baby “outside her body she can touch” she “would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care].”

According to CNA, while working as a lawyer, Lieven has argued cases in favour of abortion rights:

In 2011, while representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider, she argued that British women should be permitted to medically abort their pregnancies at their own homes instead of in a hospital.

Five years later, Lieven 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.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), in unrestricted abortion is legal in England until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

After that stage, the procedure is legal if the mother’s life is at risk or the child has a severe disability.

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