A Catholic woman in the United Kingdom may be forced to get an abortion against her will after a judge ruled that it was “in her best interests” to terminate the pregnancy due to her developmental disabilities and mood disorder, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The unidentified woman in her 20s is 22 weeks pregnant, and suffers from developmental disabilities that reportedly have left her with the mental capacity of a grade school-aged child. The origin of the pregnancy, whether it was conceived consensually or not, is unknown and under police investigation.
Justice Nathalie Lieven acknowledged how invasive her ruling is to the woman’s rights, but still said the need for the abortion outweighed that.
“I am 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,” Lieven ruled. “I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
The woman is under the care of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service under an NHS trust, and her doctors have said the abortion would be less traumatic for the woman than giving birth and giving up the child to foster care. The judge agreed, and suggested that the baby, while unborn, is not “real” yet.
“I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said. “…it would at that stage be a real baby.”
The woman’s mother has told both the doctors and the court that she would take care of the baby. She is reportedly a registered midwife. Lieven believes that it would be too much for the mother to care for her daughter and granddaughter.
Abortion is legal in the UK until 24 week of pregnancy. After that, doctors must certify that it is in the medical interest of the mother to have an abortion.