Judge Orders Abortion For Woman With Disability
A British woman has been ordered to have an abortion by a court, going against her and her mother's wishes, after health authorities argued it would be in her best interests.
The London woman -- who cannot be named for legal reasons, and is believed to in her 20s -- is said to have the mental capacity of a child aged between six and nine, due to developmental disabilities and a mood disorder.
The U.K.'s National Health Service, which oversees the woman's care, argued in court an abortion would be less traumatic than having to give birth and give the child up for adoption.
The Court of Protection -- for rulings relating to people unable to make decisions for themselves -- decided the woman, who is 22 weeks pregnant, must undergo an abortion.
According to The Independent, Justice Nathalie Lieven said the decision was "heartbreaking", but agreed with the NHS that giving the child up for adoption would cause the woman to "suffer greater trauma".
"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," the judge said.
“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
Police are investigating how the woman came to be pregnant. Abortion is legal in the U.K. up to 24 weeks.
The court heard the woman objected to the abortion, and that the woman's mother said she would raise the child with her daughter's help.
However, Lieven rejected this and believed the woman did not have the mental capacity to understand what having a baby meant.
“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” Lieven said.
Lieven also said in her judgement social workers would unlikely to accept the child's living situations because of the woman's psychological capabilities, and the child would most likely be put into foster care or up for adoption.