Patterico's Pontifications


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

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:11 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.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


31 Responses to “UK Court of Appeal Overturns Decision to Force Mentally Disabled Woman To Have Abortion”

  1. In light of the modern Democratic party going to the wall to legalize abortion through birth and the devaluing of life, it’s easy to see this sort of “advocacy” (because that’s essentially what it is) and decision making like Lievan’s happening here.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. I confess surprise, but pleasant surprise.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  3. miracles happen, what we say,

    narciso (d1f714)

  4. I’m looking forward to reading the full explanation for their decision.

    Dana (bb0678)

  5. you won’t find it in any british paper, it might as well have happened on the village of the prisoner,

    narciso (d1f714)

  6. Wait, I thought the basis for abortion rights was the free choice of the woman? Hence the phrase, pro-choice?

    Or does that phrase work only one way (“I wan’t to abort my baby”) and not the other way (“I don’t want to abort my baby”)?

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  7. I have a question for the Democrat candidates ….

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  8. Wait, I thought the basis for abortion rights was the free choice of the woman? Hence the phrase, pro-choice?

    It’s “a woman’s choice.” Doesn’t say which woman.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  9. Bored lawyer makes a good point.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  10. Let’s hope this decision is final.

    Dave (1bb933)

  11. I checked the times, the mail, the express and the telegraph, they were hiding under a bushel basket,

    narciso (d1f714)

  12. Ironically, this time the only woman whose choice mattered is the Judge. Even more ironic is that the choice to kill the baby was made by the Court of Protection.

    DRJ (15874d)

  13. Daily Mail: Catholic mother wins court bid to stop medics performing an abortion on her 22-weeks-pregnant mentally ill daughter.

    Telegraph: Mentally ill woman should not have abortion, court rules after Catholic mother brings challenge.

    You’re not taking into account that (1) this happened only today, Monday; and (2) there’s a time difference between here and there, narciso.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  14. BBC News: Judges overturn ‘forced abortion’ ruling.

    Will you for once, for the love of God, squarely admit that you were wrong, that you jumped to a premature conclusion, and that on this occasion you don’t know what you were talking about, narciso?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  15. A couple of days ago I asked narciso to retract and apologize for something he wrote. I asked him twice when he was here commenting, but he ignored me. He thinks there are no consequences here.

    DRJ (15874d)

  16. He thinks there are no consequences here.

    The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

    Even at

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. True. He could still retract and apologize. I’m willing to give him another day.

    DRJ (15874d)

  18. Our host made a similar straightforward demand for an apology and retraction from narciso some months ago, which, if I recall correctly, our host later wrote had been ignored, inexplicably. But our host decided not to go through with his own clear warnings.

    I didn’t, and don’t, second-guess that decision, and I would genuinely miss narciso, because he does bring content with his comments, in contrast to many other commenters who also annoy me. He is Delphic at best, and I often have no idea what he’s trying to say. But he has a genuinely impressive, if often oddly skewed, knowledge of history and politics, and a ready facility for sorting through it; he generates, and throws out for consideration, genuinely creative and surprising correlations and associations that are often interesting even if ultimately unpersuasive. He is an oblique communicator, oftentimes an infuriating one, certainly a unique one.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  19. I think that like Apollo at Delphi, he may need a priestess, a Pythia, to be his oracle and to interpret for him. Perhaps nk has views on that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  20. I looked at the Daily Mail, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph and The Independent sites, circa 1pm PDT, starting from the front page and NOT searching since no one searches for news. I scrolled down quite a ways and did NOT see any story on this subject. I used the basic Drudge links to get there.

    Perhaps they could be found by search, but that implies nothing about whether a casual read of the paper would find them. Maybe everyone’s right.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  21. I think that like Apollo at Delphi, he may need a priestess, a Pythia, to be his oracle and to interpret for him. Perhaps nk has views on that.

    I have posted this before. You too can have a narciso decoder ring like mine. Just send two 1984 Eldorado convertible tops and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

    Area 53
    Rachel, Nevada 89001

    nk (dbc370)

  22. As a man with a bachelor’s degree in engineering (civil in my case), I am loathe to defer too many decisions to the legal system. My training has taught me that the certain way to make a bad situation worse is to leave it for “the lawyers” to hash out. I understand that sometimes they have the last word on troubling situations where EVERY choice is a bad one. At the very least, I take heart that the vast majority of our society believes that the phrase “where there’s life, there’s hope” are words of wisdom. I don’t expect a full Hippocratic Oath from those in charge, but I have always felt that ultimately everyone has a conscience whispering in their ear.

    Now? That level of faith in humanity is looking like naivety on my part. And I weep for the world my son is going to have to navigate when my wife and I are gone.

    Russ from Winterset (8bdf96)

  23. Thank God. I hope people can appreciate just a little bit of humanity.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  24. What troubles me the most about this is the thought that when the appeals panel announces the reasoning behind their opposition to the original ruling, I fear that it will be worded in a way that focuses on legal technicalities and try to smooth over the wickedness of the judge’s original ruling.

    In my perfect world, they would call out the original ruling as something that even a monster like Margaret Sanger would find to be a bridge too far. And this decision checks a LOT of her boxes: a mentally troubled African immigrant who comes from a strong Christian family? Check check check. If they refuse to call out the callous decision that this child is better off dead, I see this reversal of her original verdict as a partial victory at best.

    I guess that sort of thinking would make me a lousy lawyer.

    Russ from Winterset (9ebdc9)

  25. I guess that sort of thinking would make me a lousy lawyer.

    And an even worse judge. Follow the law, rule only as the law requires, no more and no less, and leave your feelings for your next lecture at Oberlin.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. About the only time I’ve seen an appellate court “call out” the trial judge has been when a case has gone up on appeal, was reversed, and was remanded with instructions as to how to get it right on retrial. A trial judge who flouts those instructions may get a public smack-down as a result.

    The late Hon. William Wayne Justice of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, became hugely controversial because of the sweeping (and IMHO generally appropriate) orders he issued to comprehensively reform the Texas prison system in the 1960s and 1970s. Independently of that, however, Judge Justice — a name that always reminded me of “Major Major” in Catch-22 — was extremely well known to his fellow federal district judges across Texas, and to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as having by far the highest reversal rate of any of his peers. Frankly, nothing from his chambers was given any presumption of credibility by any of his trial or appellate judge peers; he was just known to be a sloppy loose cannon who shot from the hip and damned the consequences.

    Will you find the slightest hint of that in any published opinion of the Fifth Circuit, or from his fellow U.S. District Judges? Nope, except on a very small handful of occasions of the sort discussed above, where he pointedly ignored and violated explicit remand instructions, and the case went back up on appeal.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  27. ^^^ #27 is an example of the kind of thing I never commit to writing about a living judge, anywhere, no exceptions even in an attorney-client privileged conversation. Because you know who resolves disputes over privilege claims by looking at the underlying communication? Judges.

    And what I’ve written above about Judge Justice was absolutely common knowledge among any lawyer with a federal court practice in Texas any time from the 1960s onward. I still wouldn’t have put it in writing, much less on the internet, except for being pretty sure that Judge Justice, like Francisco Franco, is still dead.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  28. Such an appellate “call-out” in a really severe flouting of remand instructions might be:

    We note with dismay that the distinguished judge of the trial court, on remand from the prior appeal, pointedly refused to follow the instructions of that appellate panel regarding the proper conduct of the retrial. We remind him that his is the trial court, ours the appellate, and that he may not substitute his judgment for ours when we reverse and remand a case. But we are confident this reminder will be scrupulously heeded on the next retrial of this case.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  29. Trying to publish a scientific paper saying somebody else got something wrong or made a stupid oversight/mistake is a similar exercise in professional delicacy, although there is no superior/inferior relationship as there is between courts.

    Fortunately pretty rare, at least in experimental physics.

    Dave (1bb933)

  30. In general, courts are more willing to publicly call out lawyers than other judges. But that’s still not very willing.

    Beldar (fa637a)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0797 secs.