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UK court stops forced abortion order imposed upon disabled woman

"The horrific original ruling should never have happened."


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A British high court has overturned a ruling forcing an abortion on the child of a disabled woman in the United Kingdom, reports indicated on Monday.

According to a report at Catholic News Service, the English Court of Appeal —which includes Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson — overturned a ruling reached Friday by Justice Nathalie Lieven just days before.

The three-judge panel says that it will release the reasons for its ruling at a later date, according to the CNA report, but admitted that the circumstances of the case were unique.

Lieven permitted the involuntary abortion to go forward in a decision on Friday, despite the fact that the unborn child's grandmother made it clear that she would assume care for the child. Lieven also acknowledged the highly invasive nature of her ruling, but still decided the need for a coerced abortion outweighed that, despite the will of the mother, the grandmother, and a social worker.

"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."

Levien said that the abortion was in the developmentally disabled woman's "best interests" because she said that having the child would be more traumatic than killing it in utero and that she didn't understand the gravity of childbearing.

"I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll," Lieven decided.

In a statement released after the decision, the pro-life Right to Life U.K. celebrated the decision, but said that its fight in matters like this was far from over.

"This is a very welcome decision that will save the life of the unborn child and the mother from a forced late-term abortion and much undue distress," said Right to Life U.K.'s Clare McCarthy. "However, the horrific original ruling should never have happened.

"Unfortunately, we fear that this is not a one-off case," McCarthy's statement continues. "We are calling on the Department of Health to urgently reveal how many women have been forced to have an abortion in the UK over the last 10 years and make it clear how they will ensure it will not happen again."

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