British Teen’s Secret Abortion Causes Uproar, School Helped Conceal

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Teen’s Secret Abortion Causes Uproar, School Helped Conceal

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
May 18, 2004

London, England ( — A secret abortion performed on a British teenager without her mother’s knowledge has provoked an uproar in England.

The girl’s mother, Maureen Smith, was outraged when she learned that her daughter’s school arranged for the abortion to take place without notifying her. Smith told a British newspaper the school’s actions were "deplorable."

"I am absolutely outraged that my 14-year-old daughter … was able to have an abortion without my knowledge," Smith told the Daily Mail newspaper.

According to Smith, the abortion left her daughter traumatized and filled with regret.

"This is one of the worst things she will go through in her life and I knew nothing about it. I wasn’t there to help or protect her," Smith told the newspaper.

"If my daughter had been truant or causing trouble in the classroom I would have been informed. Yet she can go and have an abortion, which will affect her for the rest of her life, and I have no say," Smith added.

Meanwhile, Smith’s daughter told reporters that she believes she made the wrong choice when she decided to go through with the abortion.

"I feel like I wasn’t ready to make a decision … if I had my chance again, I probably would have kept the child and would have let my mum know," the girl said.

The health outreach worker who helped to arrange the abortion, Claire Chapman, has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the media frenzy surrounding the incident.

The girl’s mother found out about the abortion only after being told by a person she met on the street.

"Her view is that how can it be right that she is the mum but she is not told and she is left picking up the pieces," attorney Angela Donen told the British press. "The girl clearly did not know what to do or she would not have changed her mind later."

The family is expected to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The girl started the chemical abortion process after confiding in Chapman, a community health worker at Brunts School in Mansfield.

But, after her mother learned about the abortion, the two contacted a local hospital in an effort to save the unborn baby. At that time, they learned that the chemical abortion could not be reversed.

"My view is that it is very sad at a time when the government is putting more and more responsibility on parents for their children that the school can keep this whole thing secret from a parent," Donen told the British press.

In an editorial, the Scotsman newspaper noted that the rights of both the teenager and her mother were violated as a result of the incident.

"It is difficult to think of an issue that touches more fundamentally on a child’s welfare than an abortion. For a school health worker to have cut this girl’s mother out of the loop was just wrong," the editorial stated.

The secret abortion has left Maureen Smith mourning the loss of her grandchild.

"I just could not stop crying. It has broken my heart," Smith told the British press.

"That (Michelle) is my child and will be my child until the day I die, but it did not get me a say in a big issue such as an abortion," Smith added.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –