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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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UK doctors want to force abortion on pregnant woman with learning difficulties

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

June 21, 2019 (SPUC) -- “This is an outrage which should shock every right-thinking person."

In a horrific abuse of power by the medical profession, an NHS trust is asking a judge to allow them to perform an abortion on a mentally-ill woman who is 22 weeks' pregnant – despite her mother saying she will care for the child.

Mrs. Justice Lieven began analysing the evidence yesterday in the Court of Protection at the Royal Courts of Justice complex in London. She ruled that the woman, who lives in the London area, cannot be named, and nor can the NHS Trust bringing the application.

In her 'best interests'

Fiona Paterson, the barrister for the trust, said that doctors caring for the woman, who is in her 20s and diagnosed with a "moderately severe" learning disorder and a mood disorder, believe an abortion is in her best interests.

 “(Her) treating clinicians consider that on balance, a termination is in her best interests,” she said in a written case outline.

“In broad terms, (they) believe that as a result of her learning disabilities, (she) would find labour very difficult to tolerate and the recovery from a Caesarean section very challenging.

“(They) consider that (she) is likely to find the loss of a pregnancy easier to recover from than separation from the baby if he or she is taken into care.

“They also consider that (she) is at increased risk of psychosis if the pregnancy continues.”

Ignoring her wishes and feelings

The woman’s mother, who is a member of the Nigerian Igbo community, is fighting the application. She says abortion is against her Roman Catholic religious beliefs and her cultural beliefs. She also said that she would be able to care for the baby, and that her daughter’s abilities and wishes were being undermined.

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.”

The woman herself is independently represented by staff from the office of the Official Solicitor, who help mentally-ill people at the centre of litigation. Susanna Rickard, the barrister who is leading the woman’s legal team, also said abortion did not appear to be in her best interests.

Cruelty and barbarity

SPUC’s deputy chief executive John Deighan said:

“This is an outrage which should shock every right-thinking person. It is a level of cruelty and barbarity reminiscent of how people with mental health issues were treated in the 1930s of Nazi Germany. To force abortion on any person is abhorrent and to do so in the name of medicine and in the complete defiance of the religious and cultural values of the mother concerned calls into question the structures of law and justice in our society.”

Reprinted with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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