An order forcing a mentally-disabled woman to have an abortion against her will was overturned on appeal.
Justice Nathalie Lieven, in her original decision, authorized doctors to perform an abortion on the woman, who is 22-weeks pregnant, in spite of indications that she did not want one.
Both the woman and her mother, who are reportedly of Nigerian descent, are Catholic. The woman’s mother, has said that she would be willing to take care of the child.
In her original decision, Lieven wrote that she was operating in the woman’s “best interests” in spite of being “acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn’t want it is an immense intrusion.” said Justice Nathalie Lieven in her ruling in the Court of Protection on June 21.
In today’s decision, the English Court of Appeal, noted that the circumstances of the case were “unique” and said that they would issue a full explanation of their reasons for the reversal at a later date.
The original court decision was met by protests from pro-life advocates, including UK’s Right to Life, which collected over 77,000 signatures on an online petition calling for the government to intervene and prevent the forced abortion.
Bishop John Sherrington, as spokesman for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, condemned the initial decision on the grounds that it violated the woman’s — and her unborn child’s — human rights.
“Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for this child. In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state,” he said.
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