Patterico's Pontifications


U.K. Orders Mentally Disabled Woman 22 Weeks Pregnant To Abort Her Baby

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:54 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Justice Nathalie Lieven has ordered a disabled woman who is 22 weeks pregnant, to undergo an abortion due to her mental limitations (she has the mental capacity of a “grade-school” child). Lieven claims that this decision has been made with the woman’s best interest at heart:

“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.

“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” Lieven explained, arguing that her decision is in the best interest of the woman.

The Court of Protection handles cases involving individuals judged to lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

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 traumatic for the woman than giving birth, especially if the baby would then be placed in foster care.

This in spite of the young woman’s mother being against a forced abortion, and telling the court that she would take care of the baby herself:

Barrister John McKendrick, who is leading the legal team for the pregnant woman’s mother, says the court has “no proper evidence” that having an abortion will be beneficial to the pregnant mother. “Their evidence is premised on a narrow clinical view. The application must be dismissed,” McKendrick said. The pregnant woman’s mother has added that abortion strongly violates her family’s Catholic values and that she would raise her grandchild herself.

A social worker who works with the young woman also said the pregnancy should be allowed to continue.

Not good enough for Judge Lieven:

The judge said she did not believe the woman understood what it meant to have a baby.

“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 she did not believe the woman’s mother, who already helps care for her daughter, would be able to offer care for a grandchild at the same time.

Without knowing the specifics of the mental disability (does she get violent, is she compliant, etc.), it’s as if the judge believes no one has ever taken care of more than one child at a time, or taken care of a young adult with a mental disability while providing care to a baby. If this is the real concern, and the young woman is under the care of the NHS, why not offer to provide home visits by nurses or health aides to assist the grandmother? Is this an impossible ask? If the woman is a practicing Catholic and attends church, would there be no effort made by parishioners to spend time helping her care for the baby and daughter? In my experience, coming alongside families in need is one of the best things church bodies do for those in their midst.

But to this court, terminating the baby’s life – a baby who is more than halfway through gestation – is the only viable option. It’s a neater and swifter fix to the problem. As if an abortion and its aftermath is not at all upsetting, painful, confusing, and an overall soul-crushing, heart-wrenching experience. How dare the court presume that this procedure will just be the simple excision of an intrusive interruption in the life of a young woman with diminished capacity. Nothing more than a little blip on the radar, as if the young woman doesn’t have a heart and a soul and a capacity for love.

The judge also decided that, along with giving birth, putting the baby up for adoption or placed into foster care would not be in the woman’s best interest. Again, the only viable option is ending the baby’s life because to the court, the baby in the womb obviously has no personhood:

“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.”

So everything but allowing the woman to give birth to her baby is in her best interest. This exemplifies an unbelievable level of inhumanity, and overreach by the Court. Ending the life of innocents seems to be the face of the NHS and socialized medicine: Charlie Gard.

It’s insightful to read a little background on Lieven:

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.

The BBC reports on ethical arguments concerning the abortion of babies with disabilities here, and concludes the report with societal goals on the treatment of those with disabilities. As you read, keep in mind that in this case, it is the mother who has a mental disability, not the baby, and keep in mind the court’s rationale for their order to have the baby aborted:

Modern society believes certain things about people with disability:

People with disabilities should not be discriminated against in any way
Society should do everything reasonable to remove anything that gets in the way of disabled people playing a full part in ordinary life
Prejudice against disabled people is not acceptable
Stereotypes about disability should be eliminated

It’s all so ironic when you consider that the grandmother willingly gave birth to a baby who with a disability, and now the daughter with the disability is pregnant and being forced to abort her baby because there is simply no other viable option in the eyes of the court. And while the grandmother may not have known about the disability before she gave birth to her daughter, at some point after she became aware of it, and yet chose to keep the child and not put her into foster care or give her up for adoption. Thankfully, there are still people in this sad world who believe in love, no matter what form its arrival takes in their lives. And even though the grandmother said she would care for the baby – a baby who has not been identified with any disability and is perfectly innocent in every way – according to the court, that is not enough to escape death. The baby must not be allowed to live. The grandmother, whose faith prohibits the taking of innocent life and who chose to love and care for her disabled daughter, is irrelevant.

P.S. According to reports, there is an ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


33 Responses to “U.K. Orders Mentally Disabled Woman 22 Weeks Pregnant To Abort Her Baby”

  1. Anything but life.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. Some background on the judge:

    This case reveals what happens when an activist lawyer becomes a powerful judge. Nathalie Lieven was appointed a High Court judge in December 2018, and her appointment took effect on January 11, 2019. Most reports have failed to highlight that in the last fifteen years Lieven has had a prominent place in the British pro-abortion movement. She has been in the forefront of some of the landmark abortion-related cases in the country.

    In 2005 Lieven represented the Family Planning Association (FPA), the U.K. member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a case where she argued fervently against the need for parents to consent to giving abortion or contraception advice to children under sixteen. 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.

    In 2011 she fought for the cause of at-home abortions, representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)—the largest British abortion provider. In the case BPAS v Secretary of Health Lieven argued that women should be allowed to self-administer the second dose of abortion drugs at home. From 2015 to 2018, Lieven represented the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission as it launched legal action against Northern Ireland’s government, arguing that their pro-life law violated the human rights of women and girls. As lead counsel for NIHRC, Lieven argued that the laws protecting the unborn breached entitlements to privacy and rights to freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  3. Dana had some of that, but I missed it.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  4. Thanks for the additional info on the judgr, Kevin M.

    Dana (bb0678)

  5. The family are Nigerian Catholics who are not in any way confused about the sin of abortion. It would not matter to them if this was the first week of gestation.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  6. Dana, that article goes further, but I didn’t feel I could quote it all.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  7. Testimony from a Jewish man who was born into a similar situation as this child would be.

    Yesterday, a British judge, Nathalie Lieven, ruled that an intellectually disabled woman should be forced to have an abortion against her will. The woman—who remains unnamed, ostensibly out of respect for her privacy—wants to have the child, but, because of her disability, she is presumed incompetent to make this decision. Attending medical doctors have judged that her giving birth and eventually having the child removed from her custody would be extremely traumatic because of her intellectual disabilities. Based on this assessment, the judge has ruled that it is in the woman’s “best interests” that the pregnancy be terminated. I beg to differ, and do so based on some experience. For I am an intellectually disabled woman’s son.


    Kevin M (21ca15)

  8. Appeals can be made from this court, first to the Court of Appeal, secondly (maybe) to the Supreme Court.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  9. In a sane world, the state should only be making the decisions if there were no family members or loved ones available to care for and make such decisions. That the state has stepped into this and usurped the parent’s wishes is unbelievable…but seemingly normal in The UK.

    Dana (bb0678)

  10. Again, this procedure is not a medical necessity.

    Dana (bb0678)

  11. Coming attractions for the USA. Let Biden or Warren win in 2020, and we can expect this in 2022.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  12. My own four children were precocious, but even as pre-K students they understood pregnancy and childbirth; the middle two, of course, saw their mommy go through the process (except for the actual delivery). Even as grade-schoolers, were they fit to be parents on their own? Of course not. Did they think a baby was some kind of a doll? Of course not. Did the older help materially with their younger siblings under adult supervision? Of course, and that is a process that continues now that they’re ages 31 to 24. Whether this mother has the mental capacity to care for a child on her own is not the appropriate focus.

    Nor, frankly, for purposes of considering an abortion, should the pregnant woman’s and, importantly, her support network’s fitness to care for a child be the issue. My four certainly understood about adoption by the time they were in grade school, and that is an alternative.

    This is the mommy-state run amok, so far amok that “mommy state” becomes a cruel joke.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  13. (*The oldest and next two, I ought have written.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  14. (Also, their supervising adults are now each other. They are each others’ most fierce advocates and defenders and supporters, although they’re dramatically different from one another; and that was always, of course, the plan.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  15. The judge herself is so biased on the subject that it beggars understanding how she was allowed to handle cases like this. It’s like a guy finding out that Judge Gloria Allred will be handling his divorce case.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  16. (Aaaaaand … I suppose the reference is actually “nanny state” rather than “mommy state.” Apologies to moms; but it’s still amok, with the supposed loving care- and shelter-giver turning into life terminator through flawed, incoherent logic.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  17. May I point out that

    Doctors at the trust wished to abort her pregnancy

    Presumably the case got to court in the first place because these doctors, whomever they are, wanted to force the abortion, simply on the grounds that abortion would be less emotionally traumatic to the mother than being separated from the child after it was born.

    Given the judge’s background I have to wonder how easy judge shopping is under the British system.

    Kishnevi (1b8c69)

  18. The UK always seem willing able to remove an individual’s right to autonomy, and in this case, a parent’s right to speak and choose on behalf of their child.

    Dana (bb0678)

  19. Buck v. Bell.

    Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

    They don’t write like that anymore.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Given the judge’s background I have to wonder how easy judge shopping is under the British system.

    I don’t think any is needed. She is a full (not Deputy) High Court Judge in the Family Division. All special Court of Protection petitions might go to her, the way they would go to the Presiding Judge of a Probate Division here.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Yes, Buck vs Bell, but even Buck was allowed to give birth to a child.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  22. not on society’s views of termination

    How about on God’s view?

    Oh, I guess Judge Nathalie, that horrid woman, is above that view as well.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  23. Can we finally admit they worship Moloch?

    NJRob (e3c948)

  24. Better an intellectually disabled woman than a morally disabled judge. Better the child of an intellectually disabled woman than the victim of a socialist death cult.

    What is Britain today? The blunt answer ought not to be spoken in polite society. There are civilized words for it, but they are the words of Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell.

    Daren Jonescu (2f5857)

  25. Apparently the court utterly dismisses the idea that the family would keep the infant. So they talk about how terrible it would be for the mother to have the child taken from her, when that isn’t what the family proposed at all.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. Serfdom is the English Way. Have you noticed how socialism — whether Soviet Socialism, National Socialism, or Ingsoc — so closely resembles the feudal system which preceded it?

    (One of many reasons I never took Hayek seriously. Dude, we’ve been on The Road Away From Serfdom for the last 250 years, with people turning back and trying to drag the rest of us back.)

    nk (dbc370)

  27. And baal and probably osiris.

    Narciso (30eb7e)

  28. . So they talk about how terrible it would be for the mother to have the child taken from her, when that isn’t what the family proposed at all.

    They are arguing that the mother is so much trouble, that the grandmother would have to move away from her; or maybe the issue also is that she is getting old, so at some point they’d be separated – and that’s what social workers like to do.

    She’s 22 weeks pregnant and British law allows abortion up to 24 weeks – maybe longer of the child is likely to be disabled, and that could be another issue in dispute.

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)

  29. Medical Doctors have a tendency to think they are God. Judges have a tendency to think they are God. State apparatchiks have a tendency to think they are God. Bring the three together via State controlled medicine and you have a powerful recipe for hubris and really awful decisions.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  30. Today there’s an Op-ed article in the New York Times that assertsm like it was well known fact, that abortion used to be legal till about 1840, and nobody thought anything about it, till doctors, for selfish and not ethical reasons, lobbied to make it illegal (this version of history is the basis for Roe v Wade by the way.)

    Prior to the 1840s, abortion was widespread and not illegal in our country…,Beginning in the 1840s, doctors sought to gain control of the reproduction business. Doctors were establishing their new profession; midwives and homeopaths were their competition. But why did doctors lobby for abortion to be illegal? What was their logic?…We don’t know the doctors’ reasons for making abortion illegal. In the 1840s, the fetus wasn’t yet sacred. Fetal life was still defined by “quickening” — when the woman felt the fetus move, not before the fourth or fifth month. From the 1840s to 1900, we know the results of what the doctors did — not their thoughts.

    But it definitely, in her mind, was not a question of medical ethics, Hippocratic oath or not, because nobody thought there was anything wrong with abortion until maybe the 1860s. That’s their story and they’re sticking with it.

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)

  31. The only time the NYT publishes something truthful it’s by accident.

    nk (dbc370)

  32. More from that Op-ed by John Irving. He is novelist, most famous for i> The World According to Garp, which he is mow adapting for television. His claim to authority on this subject is that in the 1980s he wrote a historical novel with abortion in Maine in the 1920s as a main
    subplot, The Cider House Rules which was later adapted for a movie, which won both an Oscar and a Maggie.

    What’s a Maggie, you may ask? He tells us. The Maggie Award, named after the founder of Planned Parentood, Margeret Sanger, is given for “exceptional achievement in support of reproductive rights.”

    The prevailing impetus to oppose abortion is to punish the woman who doesn’t want the child. The sacralizing of the fetus is a ploy.

    In the book, a doctor, Homer wells, doesn’t ant to perform abortions – not for ethical reasons, of course, but because it makes him uncomfortable because he was an orphan, and not abborted, but eventully feels compelled to do so because another doctor dies and he is the only one who can help the women.

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)

  33. You don’t have to be anti-abortion to find this appalling.

    matt d (b5cbe0)

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