A court in the United Kingdom has ordered that a pregnant woman in her twenties who reportedly has the mental capacity of a child to undergo an abortion, despite her family's objections to the procedure.
Justice Nathalie Lieven of the Court of Protection ruled last Friday that the pregnant woman must undergo an abortion procedure to end her 22-week pregnancy.
The judge concluded that while the woman appeared to want to carry the baby to term, the court felt that they should “operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
“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,” noted Lieven, as reported by the Independent.
Nevertheless, LIeven believed the woman would be unable to properly care for the child, arguing that “she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.”
The pregnant woman, whose name has not been released to the public, lives in London with her mother. Police are investigating how she became pregnant, according to The Independent.
The ruling garnered outrage among many, including Obianuju Ekeocha, founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, who labeled the decision “murder disguised as care.”
“We should be outraged that a government-affiliated health establishment is fighting to kill a fully developed baby against the wishes of the mother and grandmother, and also that Justice Nathalie Lieven—who has admitted that all evidence indicates the disabled woman wants to keep her baby—has ruled that the child should be aborted,” wrote Ekeocha for First Things.
“This case exposes how far the tyranny of the abortion regime extends. In a society that has decided the unborn have no rights, the worth and life of the unborn are determined by the most powerful.”
According to Ekeocha, the judge responsible for the decision has a history of pro-choice activism, in 2005 working as a lawyer for a group associated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
“In 2005 … Lieven argued that parents are no longer the best people to advise children on contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and abortions, and that they have no right to know if their children under age sixteen are seeking treatment,” she continued.
“In 2011 she fought for the cause of at-home abortions, representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)—the largest British abortion provider.”
The Court of Protection’s decision mandating an abortion for the unnamed woman comes not long after the release of a report that found abortions were on the rise in England and Wales.
Earlier this month, a report from the U.K.’s Department of Health & Social Care found that England and Wales experienced the highest rate of abortions in a decade in 2018.
In 2018, England and Wales had an abortion rate of 17.4 per 1,000 women and girls aged 15-44, making it the highest number of abortions since 2007, when a rate of 17.9 abortions per 1,000 women was reported.
The recent report also found that 39% of women who had an abortion in 2018 had at least one previous abortion. This represented a steady increase since 2008, when 33% of women undergoing abortions had already had one or more previous abortions.
Update, June 24, 2019:
A Court of Appeal panel of three judges overturned Lieven's decision on Monday. The judges stated that they would give their official reasons for overturning the decision at a later date.