In June, news broke of a disturbing case in the United Kingdom of a mentally disabled woman being ordered to undergo an abortion against her will. The woman, who has not been named in news reports and is described as developmentally challenged, was ordered by a judge to undergo an abortion at 22-weeks pregnant.
Three days after the June 21 ruling, LifeSiteNews reports a three-judge panel in an appeals court overturned the extreme, anti-Life ruling, stating that doctors cannot force a disabled patient to undergo an abortion against her will. While the appeal ruling has likely saved the life of the baby in this case, the shocking prior ruling, and even the existence of such a case, begs the question of how many other lives are in danger from anti-Life laws and activist judges.
The case arose because the unidentified woman is receiving health care through the National Health Service trust. Doctors working for the trust brought their case before the Court of Protection, established to make legal decisions for individuals who are deemed not to have the mental capacity to make such decisions for themselves. According to reports, the unidentified pregnant woman has the mental capacity of a ten-year-old although she is reportedly in her twenties.
In the initial court case, Justice Nathalie Lieven sided with the anti-Life doctors even while acknowledging the shocking level of intrusion in the State ordering a woman to kill her preborn child. Lieven said, “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 … [but]I have to operate in [her]best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
Herein lies the crux of the issue. As radical anti-Life activists increasingly claim that abortion is a positive good in society, more anti-Life doctors, legislators, and judges are claiming that abortion is in the “best interest” of women. This particularly extreme example in which the state affirmed anti-Life doctors coercing a mentally disabled woman to kill her preborn child against her will is a foreshadowing of what may happen in places like New York and Illinois that have passed radically anti-Life laws.
Lieven, who has long worked in the anti-Life movement in the UK, claimed, “I think (she) would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed.” She argued, “It would at that stage be a real baby,” adding, “Pregnancy, although real to her, doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch.” At 22 weeks, mothers feel their fully developed preborn babies moving and know they are very much “real babies” although only seen with ultrasound. In an abortion, a child is “removed,” generally after being violently ripped limb from limb and bleeding to death. Dismissing the effects of this potential trauma on the mother, not to mention the baby, is inhumane.
Lieven revealed the full extent of her condescension when she stated, “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.” The pregnant woman is not alone in protesting the abortion. The woman’s mother, who is part of the Nigerian Igbo community and a former midwife, says abortion is against her faith, as the family is Catholic, and contradicts their cultural values. The woman’s mother, the preborn baby’s grandmother, told the court that she can care for and raise the child.
The grandmother has argued that the mother’s abilities have been underestimated and her desires dismissed. Based on Lieven’s comments, this does not seem a stretch.
John McKendrick, the lawyer leading the legal team for the woman’s mother said the judge offered “no proper evidence” that being forced to undergo an abortion is in the best interest of the woman. “Their evidence is premised on a narrow clinical view. The application must be dismissed.”
Following the initial ruling, Obianuju Ekeocha, a Pro-Life Nigerian Catholic also living in the UK, wrote movingly, “I weep for the broken heart of my fellow Nigerian Catholic woman whose unborn grandbaby has been sentenced to death under the guise of protection and care.”
While the appeal ruling is a relief, the case shows that the culture of death will not stop and will not be contained unless Pro-Lifers everywhere are brave enough to stand against those who seek to destroy innocent human lives