Judge refuses to allow abortion for mentally disabled woman without her consent
Advocates say woman's pregnancy endangers her health
In England, a High Court judge will not allow doctors to abort a mentally disabled woman's baby without her consent. Doctors have applied for an order to allow them to terminate the pregnancy. They claim that the unborn child is endangering her life. The judge maintains that the mother must still have the right to decide, in spite of her disability.
Justice Hedley, sitting in the Court of Protection at London's High Court, said it was 'in her best interests' if the woman, who is 18 weeks pregnant and from the south of England, was 'to continue with the pregnancy.'
Medics insist that the woman does not have the ability to make the decision herself and have described the need for an abortion as "urgent."
Justice Hedley, sitting in the Court of Protection at London's High Court, said it was "in her best interests" if the woman, who is 18 weeks pregnant and from the south of England, was "to continue with the pregnancy."
The alleged father of the unborn child is known -- but it would not be right for the court to make any observations about that, he added.
The judge went on that it was very important to bear in mind that people with severe learning difficulties "may very well retain the capacity to make deeply personal decisions about how they conduct their lives."
According to the judge, this includes decisions about choice of partners, the extent of sexual activity, making permanent relationships "and decisions about their own medical care including, as in this case, the continuation or termination of pregnancy," he said.
The judge decided this after independent expert in psychiatry, Dr Stephen Tyrer, expressed the view that she did have capacity "to decide whether or not to continue with, or terminate, pregnancy," despite this she "manifestly lacked capacity" to participate in legal proceedings today, the judge said.
The woman's sickle cell disease is very serious -- her red blood cells develop abnormally, preventing oxygen circulation -- and the baby must be terminated very soon to reduce the risk of her losing her life, doctors say.
Around 250,000 people in the United Kingdom are believed to have sickle cell disease, and it is more prevalent among ethnic minorities.
Until recently the Court of Protection sat in secret and is charged with ruling on "life and death" cases where patients are deemed incapable of making a decision themselves.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: United Kingdom, sickle cell disease, abortion, decision, mentally challenged
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- Receiving the Eucharist: I Have Decided to Kneel For Jesus
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctifier and Giver of Life, Love and Truth
- Pope Francis tweets his prayers following devastation in Moore
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- Pope Francis calls for change within the Church
- Atheists to have their books placed atop Gideon Bibles
- Killer whale with missing fins cared for by its pod family
- C-section leaves mom fighting for life over dreaded flesh-eating virus
- Pope Francis tells world's leaders to abandon 'cult of money'
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?