UK doctors are to perform a surgical abortion on a woman with learning difficulties without her consent, a Court of Protection judge has ruled.
The Court of Protection in London heard how an unidentified woman in her twenties has the ‘mental capacity of a toddler’ and is believed to be 12 weeks pregnant. The judge has ordered a surgical abortion to be performed on the woman later this week, after hospital bosses urged the court to authorize the termination.
Mr Justice Williams has ruled that medics can physically restrain the vulnerable woman, if necessary, in order to administer a general anesthetic and perform the abortion.
Police are investigating whether the woman’s pregnancy was caused by an act of sexual assault.
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 calls into question the structures of law and justice in our society.”
Forced abortion for those with learning difficulty
This forced abortion case has occurred only months after a UK judge attempted to subject a 22-week pregnant woman to an abortion against her will.
In June 2019, Mrs Justice Lieven ordered doctors to carry out a late-term abortion on a woman with learning difficulties, despite admitting it was against the woman’s will. The decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal following a massive public outcry.
SPUC Campaign Research Officer Margaret Akers said: “When the case of forced abortion was overturned in June, SPUC raised serious questions regarding how such an inhumane ruling was ever made, and sought reassurance that it will never happen again.
“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 difficulties. 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.”