A British judge who drew international outrage for trying to force a woman with disabilities to abort her unborn baby was a prominent abortion activist for more than a decade before being appointed to the bench.
An appeals court overturned Justice Nathalie Lieven’s ruling Monday, but her decision has many wondering if this is the first time an official has used their power to try to force an abortion.
Lieven once worked as a lawyer for the largest abortion chain in the UK, the British Pregnancy Advisory Services (BPAS). In 2011, she argued a case for at-home abortions on behalf of the abortion group, the Yorkshire Post reported at the time.
The Right to Life UK, which organized a petition on the pregnant woman’s behalf, pointed out Lieven’s abortion advocacy. In 2017, she argued that the pro-life laws in Northern Ireland are “inhumane,” “degrading” and “torture,” according to The Irish News.
“This case exposes how far the tyranny of the abortion regime extends,” African pro-life leader Obianuju Ekeocha responded at First Things.
She said Lieven was an abortion activist for 15 years before becoming a judge in January. In 2005, Lieven argued against parental consent for minors seeking abortions. Later, she argued for at-home abortions and the repeal of pro-life laws in Northern Ireland, making her a leading voice of abortion groups in the UK, Ekeocha said.
“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,” Ekeocha continued.
As LifeNews reported, last week, Lieven ruled in favor of a government-run hospital to allow doctors to abort the mentally disabled woman’s 22-week-old unborn baby against her will.
Doctors argued that the abortion was in the woman’s best interests — even though social workers and her own family disagree. The woman’s legal team argued there is no evidence to show that aborting her baby is beneficial for her. The woman’s mother, a retired midwife from Nigeria, even offered to care for her grandchild, but Lieven ruled otherwise.
Lieven argued that aborting her unborn baby would be less traumatic for the woman than losing custody to foster care or adoption, according to the Catholic News Agency. The judge also claimed the child would not be a “real baby” until after birth.
The pregnant woman’s mother appealed the ruling. She said abortion is against her Catholic religious beliefs and her cultural beliefs. She also said she would be able to care for the baby, and her daughter’s abilities and wishes were being undermined.
On Monday, an appeals court reversed Lieven’s ruling, and pro-life advocates rejoiced for the family.
After the ruling, John Deighan of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told LifeNews:
“This is amazing news. The initial decision to form an abortion on a disabled woman against her will, when her mother had promised to look after the child, caused shock and outrage around the world. A forced abortion is one of the worst things that can be done to a woman, and it is beggars belief that a judge of this land advocated this kind of cruelty and barbarity. We rejoice that common sense and basic decency has prevailed, and the mother and baby have escaped this appalling fate. The attention must now turn to giving this family all the support they need in an undoubtedly difficult situation. Serious questions must now be asked about how this decision happened, and the country will need assurances that this will never happen again.”
Police are investigating the circumstances of how the woman became pregnant.