A judge in the UK has decided that a pregnant woman with severe learning disabilities must abort her child despite her lack of consent.
The 20-something woman with the mental capacity of a toddler is 12 weeks pregnant. The judge ordered the doctors to restrain her during the abortion if necessary, according to the Guardian.
The Christian Post reported that the judge believes the woman may have been raped or made pregnant by a man who also had learning disabilities. The police will investigate further with a DNA test to determine paternity.
Medical professionals at an NHS hospital trust asked the Court of Protection, which hears cases for people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, to allow a surgical termination of the pregnancy. More than 30 professionals consulted with the judge on the case and agreed that abortion was the best option for the mother, including the girl’s foster parents.
The judge admitted that the ruling was an intrusion on the woman’s freedom and autonomy but that it was still in her best interest.
Pro-life activists are pushing back against the decision.
“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,” John Deighan of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said, according to LifeSite News. “To force abortion on any person is abhorrent and to do so in the name of medicine calls into question the structure of law and justice in our society.”
The news comes only five months after another UK judge ruled a woman with learning disabilities abort her child at 22 weeks of gestation despite the abortion being against both her and her mother’s will. Though the decision was ultimately overturned, it raised eyebrows with SPUC.
“Astonishingly, less than 5 months later another similar ruling has been made. What we are witnessing is the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women with learning disabilities. Performing an abortion on any woman without consent is abuse of the worst kind imaginable. A woman understood to have the mental capacity of a toddler cannot consent to sex. We must demand answers as to how this vulnerable woman was ever placed in this situation and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
Photo courtesy: Daan Stevens/Unsplash
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.