British Court of Appeal judges in London reversed a Court of Protection judge’s order that a developmentally disabled pregnant woman must obtain an abortion against her will at 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Three appeal judges on Monday overruled the decision of Justice Nathalie Lieven, who said an abortion was in the woman’s best interests because of her disability.
The woman is under the care of a National Health Service (NHS) trust in the United Kingdom.
She is reportedly in her 20s and believed to have the mental abilities of a grade school-age child.
However, the woman’s mother, who is Nigerian and a former midwife, made clear to Lieven she would assume responsibility for her grandchild. The mother’s lawyers challenged Lieven’s decision.
According to a report at the Press Association, Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King, and Lord Justice Peter Jackson heard the appeal and overturned the Court of Protection’s decision, stating they would provide reasons for their decision at a later date.
Both lawyers for the mother and a social worker argued against a forced abortion.
“Thank God, humanity has prevailed,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, reacting to the news of the decision of the Court of Appeals.
“Courts simply do not have the authority to order the killing of a baby,” Pavone added. “God bless this child’s family, who knows that and took the actions necessary to resist this injustice. Now it’s time for all of us to resist the injustice of abortion in whatever way it rears its ugly head.”
Right to Life UK launched a petition that requested intervention by the U.K. health secretary. The petition gathered more than 75,000 signatures in two days. At the time of publication, the petition had over 97,000 signatures.
In a statement, Clare McCarthy of Right to Life UK, addressed the concerns of Lieven’s pro-abortion rights background.
“Justice Lieven’s background as a lawyer in numerous abortion advocacy cases calls into question her fitness to adjudicate in this case,” she said. “The fact that this case relates directly to abortion and the fact that the Judge has a strong background of pro-abortion advocacy, undermines the impartiality of the judiciary.”
In the U.S., Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) condemned Lieven’s ruling on Twitter:
If story accurate 22 week pregnant disabled woman is being required to undergo a forced abortion by UK court.
The U.S. should offer her & her mother a visa.
And why are the voices who always talk about a woman’s right to choose so quiet on this?
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 22, 2019
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called the decision for forced abortion a “horrific violation of the human rights of both unborn children and their mothers.”
“Justice Lieven’s order reeks of eugenics and is the type of oppression one would expect to see under a totalitarian regime, like China’s brutal state-enforced population control,” the pro-life leader added. “Such a ruling could not occur in a vacuum – it exposes a culture of devaluation of human life and prejudice toward individuals with disabilities, right up to the most elite levels of society.”