London, England, Jun 21, 2019 / 11:15 am (CNA).- A British judge has authorized doctors to perform an abortion on a pregnant Catholic woman with developmental disabilities and a mood disorder, despite the objections of the woman’s mother and the woman herself. The woman is 22 weeks pregnant.
“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,” said Justice Nathalie Lieven in her ruling in the Court of Protection, June 21.
The Court of Protection handles cases involving individuals judged to lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Lieven claimed the abortion would be beneficial for the woman, saying that “I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
The woman, who cannot been publicly identified, has been described as “in her twenties,” and is under the care of an NHS trust, part of the UK’s National Health Service. Doctors at the trust wished to abort her pregnancy and argued that, due to her diminished mental capacity, the abortion would be less truamatic for the woman than either giving birth or being separated from the child.
The woman’s mother made clear to doctors and the court that she would assume care of her grandchild.
The woman is believed to have the mental capacity of a grade school-age child. She is reportedly Catholic, and her mother is Nigerian.

It is unknown if the pregnancy was conceived consensually, and police are investigating the circumstances of conception.
The woman’s mother, reported to be a former midwife, registered her absolute opposition to the abortion citing the Catholic faith of herself and her daughter. A social worker who cares for the woman also disagreed that she should be forced to have an abortion.
The judge said she did not believe the woman understood what it meant to have a baby, and said that “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.”
Lieven also said that she did not believe the woman’s ongoing mental health care needs would permit her mother to assist in raising the child.
Allowing the child to be born and then removed from the woman’s home and placed into foster care or adoption would be against the woman’s own interests, the judge concluded.
“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.”

As a lawyer, Lieven has appeared in court before in cases concerning abortion. 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.
Unrestricted abortion is legal in the UK until 24 weeks of pregnancy, after which doctors must certify that the abortion is in the medical interests of the mother.
NHS statistics show babies born at 24 weeks have a 50% chance of survival on average, though the rate depends on the NHS trust providing care. Babies born in a University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospital in London at 23 weeks of gestation have a 70% chance of survival.


What an awful dilemma for this young woman, her mother, the doctors and the courts.

I have personal insight into these issues as my youngest sister Sandra RIP was intellectually disabled and the handling of her feminine issues was a bit of a mine field for her carers and family. She was very distressed on a monthly basis when she experienced what all women experience. There was also the fear that somebody, somewhere might take advantage of her and she might become pregnant. She would have not been able to handle a pregnancy in any way at all. The matter was resolved by placing her on a good contraceptive regime that took away her monthly distress and the danger of pregnancy.

In the current case the young woman does not have the capacity to address the whole situation herself.

Her mother is obviously emotionally involved and is being guided by her Roman Catholic religion. The court took the view that the mother could not look after both her daughter and a grandchild.

The judge has acted for “Pro Choice” clients before and that might lead people to think that she might be prejudiced?

On the other hand she has been appointed by the state to do the job she does on behalf of society and I imagine she has not left herself open to be challenged on a point of law.

This is one of those sad cases where everyone is a loser – and the baby will lose its life and be the biggest loser of all.


One last very big and very important question




24 June 2019 BBC A woman has won an appeal against a court ruling that would have seen her mentally ill daughter forced to have an abortion.She appealed a decision made last week granting permission for specialists to end the pregnancy.

Three Court of Appeal judges in London upheld the appeal, overturning the previous decision.
Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson will give reasons at a later date.
The judges were told the woman’s daughter is in her 20s, is 22 weeks pregnant, and has the mental age of a child aged between the age of six and nine.
She also has a “moderately severe” learning disorder and a mood disorder.

‘Enormous decision’

At a hearing in the Court of Protection last week, bosses at a hospital trust responsible for the pregnant woman’s care asked Mrs Justice Lieven to let doctors end the pregnancy.
Three specialists – an obstetrician and two psychiatrists – said they believed a termination was the best option.
They said there was a risk to the pregnant woman’s psychiatric health if pregnancy continued and they feared her behaviour could pose a risk to a baby.
But her mother – who was against abortion – said she could care for the child.
A social worker who worked with the pregnant woman, who lives in the London area, also said she should give birth, as did lawyers representing her.
But Mrs Justice Lieven ruled that on balance termination was the best option.
She said she had to make an “enormous” decision on the basis of what was in the pregnant woman’s best interests.
At Monday’s appeal hearing, barristers John McKendrick QC and Victoria Butler-Cole QC, successfully argued that ruling was wrong.