British Court May Force Mentally Disabled Woman to Have Abortion

International   |   Adam Cassandra   |   Jan 8, 2013   |   6:57PM   |   London, England

A team of doctors in the United Kingdom are seeking an “urgent” ruling from the Court of Protection allowing them to forcibly abort the child of a woman they deem unfit to make the decision herself.

The woman, whose name has been withheld, has sickle cell disease, and she has already suffered from multiple strokes due to the condition. Her doctors think that allowing the woman’s pregnancy to continue may cause further complications and could potentially endanger her life.

Forcibly aborting the woman’s child without her consent is necessary according to the medical team because the woman has a “significant learning impairment.”

The Court of Protection in England “makes decisions and appoints deputies to make decisions in the best interests of those who lack capacity to do so.”

A report on the case in the UK’s The Telegraph said the court routinely exercises “life or death” powers over others.

In one case last year the court ruled that a young autistic woman could not engage in sexual intercourse because she was incapable of understanding all of the risks involved with having sex. The ruling not only barred the woman from having sex, but also made the case that anyone who tried to have intercourse with her could be charged with sexual assault or rape.

“It is strange, but nevertheless true, that even the freedom to make unwise decisions is one that the court is required to guard and only to restrict if and when the best interests of [the woman] so require,” the judge said.

Judges on the court were also petitioned to rule in favor of forcibly sterilizing a mentally disabled woman last year before the case was dropped.

Last September, medical experts in the fields of obstetrics, gynecology, mental health and molecular epidemiology organized a major International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare in Dublin, Ireland which concluded that “direct abortion … is not medically necessary to save the life of a mother.”

More than 140 Irish medical professionals attended the Symposium and presented new research and shared clinical experiences on issues surrounding maternal healthcare. Particular attention was paid to the management of high-risk pregnancies, cancer in pregnancy, fetal anomalies, mental health and maternal mortality.

The Symposium’s conclusions were published in a “Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare,” and medical professionals from around the world have been asked to sign onto the declaration which states:

As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.

We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.

The forced abortion case is expected to be presented to the Court of Protection in England this week.

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, said it is a “complete mockery of justice” that any court could have the power to force doctors to kill a woman’s unborn child.



“Judges and lawmakers around the world have exercised the power to create and uphold the legal ‘choice’ for women to kill their babies through abortion for decades,” Fr. Boquet said. “We shouldn’t be surprised that those in power would also force mothers to kill their children ‘for their own good.’ This is not the first time the ‘choice’ to abort a child has evolved into a requirement that a child be aborted.”

“When the dignity of human life is not respected and upheld for all people at all times, the assaults on the innocent multiply,” he said. Note:  Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum. Adam Cassandra is a Communications Specialist at Human Life International.