The Jury Talks Back

6/24/2019

UK Court of Appeal Overturns Decision to Force Mentally Disabled Woman To Have Abortion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:12 am

[guest post by Dana]

From the Catholic News Agency:

A controversial UK court decision to force a disabled woman to have an abortion has been overturned on appeal.

In a decision reportedly reached June 24, the English Court of Appeal, consisting of Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, overturned the previous ruling of the Court of Protection.

According to Press Association reports, the judges said they would issue a full explanation of their decision at a later date, but that the circumstances of the case were “unique.”

This follows Justice Nathalie Lieven’s outrageous decision to force a mentally disabled woman to have an abortion at 22 weeks pregnant. As you recall, the disabled woman’s mother, who is a member of the Nigerian Igbo community, devout Catholic, and former midwife told the court that the decision violated her religious and cultural beliefs, and that she would raise the baby. But Lieven did not consider that a compelling enough reason to allow the baby to live, believing that the trauma of giving birth, or putting the baby up for adoption or into foster care would be worse for the young woman to experience than having an abortion.

The grandmother’s legal team appealed the decision:

Barrister John McKendrick QC, who is leading the woman’s mother’s legal team, told the judge: “It is accepted that (the woman) lacks capacity to conduct these proceedings and to make a decision in respect of whether or not to consent to a termination and associated ancillary treatment.

“That being said, (her mother) considers that the applicant has underestimated (her) ability and understanding, and that more weight should be place on her wishes and feelings.”

Mr McKendrick said “Termination is not in (the woman’s) best interests.”

He also said that the judge had “no proper evidence” to show that allowing the pregnancy to continue would put the woman’s life or long-term health at grave risk.

“The applicants have failed to carry out a proper best interests analysis,” he said.“Their evidence is premised on a narrow clinical view. The application must be dismissed.”

As a result of Lieven’s decision, “thousands signed a petition pushing for U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Matthew Hancock to intervene in the case”. Also, the report notes that a UK Right to Life group had 75,000 signatures protesting the decision. Additionally, two Catholic bishops from the UK spoke out against the decision:

“Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes upon her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for the child,” said Bishop John Sherrington, an auxilary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Sherrington serves as the designated spokesman on life issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

“In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state,” he added. “This is a sad and distressing decision for the whole family whom we keep in our prayers. This case, for which all information is not available, raises serious questions about the meaning of ‘best interests’ when a patient lacks mental capacity and is subject to the court’s decision against her will.”

This, this, this:

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. 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.

Score 1 for life.

–Dana

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