UPDATE: It is reported that on June 24 the English Court of Appeal overturned the order to perform an abortion on a woman against her wishes. Read more updates at Catholic News Agency.
On Friday, a British court authorized doctors to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman, despite her objections and the objections of her family. The pregnant woman is in her 20s and has developmental disabilities and a mood disorder. Doctors argued that, due to the woman’s diminished mental capacity, an abortion would be less traumatic than giving birth and being unable to care for the child.
Catholic News Agency reported that the woman, who cannot be publicly identified, is 22 weeks pregnant and under the care of an NHS Trust, part of the UK’s National Health Service. Her mother is opposed to the abortion, citing the Catholic faith that she and her daughter share, and has assured both the doctors and the court that she is willing to assume care of her grandchild. The social worker charged with caring for the woman also disagrees with the argument that an abortion would be in the woman’s best interests.
Despite the objections of the woman, her mother, and her social worker, the court ultimately ruled that it was in the woman’s best interests to have an abortion against her will.
Justice Nathalie Lieven said in her ruling, “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.”
However, Justice Lieven explained, ““I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”
Discussing this case Friday on The Drew Mariani Show™ , guest host Ed Morrissey said, “There’s all sorts of ways that you can put this into a utilitarian sense. And that’s exactly what’s happening right here, is that there’s absolutely no consideration that this baby has a value in and of itself.”
Morrissey pointed out that this is not the first time that courts in the United Kingdom have determined that ending life is the best option, despite objections from family members. While this case involves the beginning stages of life, last year in the case of Alfie Evans the courts ruled against additional treatments and life support for a gravely ill child, despite the desires of Alfie’s parents.
“This reminds me of other situations in the UK where we’ve seen this before,” Morrissey pointed out. “Now, in the previous context of this you had children who had grave illnesses who doctors said were not going to benefit from any more treatment, who were going to die, and who should be removed from life support and allow to die. And the parents were objecting. So there’s two different cases over the last year or two.”
Interestingly, in both the Alfie Evans case and this case of the pregnant woman with developmental disabilities, it is Catholic patients and family members who needed to fight against the courts to make life-and-death decisions about their children. Many see it as an example of how rhetoric about ‘choice’ fails to allow Catholics a choice to live out their beliefs when it comes to issues of life.
“This is the same type of thing that you can see with euthanasia,” Morrissey said. “Euthanasia starts off as a choice and ends up as an obligation. And abortion starts off as a choice and ends up as an obligation. This is exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about a culture of death, where death is more valued than life.”
“This is a grotesque overstep by the National Health Service and the legal system in the UK. And I certainly pray that saner minds prevail in this one.”
Listen to the conversation below: