Forced abortion judge ignored family, human rights, appeal court finds
A severely disabled woman was just hours away from having a forced termination before the appeals court intervened
Courts in the United Kingdom have released the text of judicial decisions in the case of a disabled woman orginally ordered to undergo a forced late-term abortion.
The decisions, made available on July 11, reveal that the woman was hours away from being made to undergo the procedure at the time the Court of Appeals heard her case.
On June 21, Justice Nathalie Lieven from the Court of Protection had ruled that a 24-year-old woman, identified in court as AB, undergo an abortion at 22 weeks pregnant. Neither AB, nor her mother, “CD”, wished for her to have an abortion. Both CD and AB are devout Catholics, and are members of the Nigerian Igbo community.
The Court of Protection hears cases related to people who do not possess the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Court of Appeal overturned Lieven’s decision just three days later, on June 24, finding that Lieven’s decision disregarded the assessment and wishes of AB’s mother and social worker, and went against her human rights.
“[Lieven]… was in error in failing to make any reference in her ultimate analysis to [the mother’s] views about AB’s best interests when, as the judge found, she knew AB better than anyone and had her best interests at heart,” reads the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
“[The mother and the social worker] each know AB better than the assessing psychiatrists could possibly do notwithstanding the lengthy, caring and careful assessments they had carried out. The judge had the expert evidence of the psychiatrists on the one hand and the views of those who know AB best on the other, but she did not weigh them up, the one against the other.”
Writing for the three judge panel, Lady Justice King concluded that Lieven “went beyond what the evidence could support” in concluding that the woman’s circumstances made a forced late-term abortion in her own best interests.