You have to hand it to the Brits: I would have thought that it was impossible to come up with an abortion ruling that simultaneously violates the core principles of both pro- and anti-abortion advocates. Mostly, however, the ruling places one more slippery slope quiver among the anti-abortion movement’s metaphorical arrows. This is what can happen when unborn human life is accorded no respect whatsoever.
Yesterday, Justice Nathalie Lieven issued the ruling at the Court of Protection, which hears cases on issues relating to people who lack the mental capability to make decisions for themselves. She ordered an abortion for a mentally-disabled woman who is 22 weeks pregnant, although both she and her mother wanted the baby to be born. The judge said the decision was in the best interests of the woman, and, of course, the Court knows best. Presumably it did not think the abortion was in the best interests of the unborn child, which apparently was healthy and unimpaired.
But I’m just guessing at that.
The unidentified woman is in her 20s and reportedly has the mental capacity of a 6- to 9-year-old child. Nobody is certain how she became pregnant, but obviously that was not a determining factor in the decision, nor should it have been. The unborn child doesn’t care.
“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,” Justice Lieven said, but held that in the woman’s “best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” the baby must go. Wait, what? How is aborting a child that both the potential mother and her own mother want to have and care for in the woman’s best interests? Or anyone’s best interests, other than members of the “It’s no baby, its an invading clump of cells that you better kill fast before it grows anymore” cult?
The judge based the ruling on consideration of the British abortion laws, the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, and evidence presented at the hearing. There was no evidence presented that the woman’s fetus was impaired; the 2005 Mental Capacity Act allows a mother to terminate a pregnancy if there is a significant risk of the child being born seriously disabled. The judge said, however that even though the woman wanted to keep the baby, shedoubted whether the woman had any sense of what having a baby “meant.”
Ah! Better be safe than sorry, then! Kill the baby!
“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” the judge said. (I have read studies that suggest that unwed teens within normal ranges of intelligence often get pregnant for the same reason. So now a mother’s lack of understanding of the responsibilities of motherhood can justify an abortion? Cool! ) As if that wasn’t enough speculation in a life and death decision, the judge posited that the grandmother, who said that she would accept responsibility for caring for the child, might have to leave the mother and the home at some point.
Or get hit by a bus. Or decide to join a group of traveling mimes. THEN what? Better kill the baby and avoid such unforeseeable results.
After all, said the judge, the woman would suffer more if the baby was brought to term and taken away to foster care or for adoption than if pregnancy was terminated, because then her doll would have become a real baby.
Yeah, no doubt about it. It’s safer all around to kill the baby. For the good of all concerned. All concerned who matter, anyway.
The British group Abortion Rights, the U.K,’s version of NARAL, tried to sputter its way out of this, calling the case “sad and complex, and adding, “As heartbreaking as this case is, it is opportunistic for anti-choice organizations to use it to attack a woman’s right to choose. One in three women will have an abortion in the U.K. for many, many individual reasons, and we shouldn’t undermine free, safe, legal abortion based on one difficult case.”
On the contrary, the case stands for the brutal proposition that it is better to end a life than risk the mother becoming upset at some point in the future, and that the government can decide to kill an inborn child even when the mother “chooses” to let it be born. The case demonstrates the potential illogical and unethical end-results of a system that accords no respect to nascent human life. It’s not “opportunistic” for anti-abortion groups to point to the case and ask the public to consider what it represents. It is mandatory.
Breaking: A three-judge panel overturned the decision today following an appeal filed by the mother, a Nigerian immigrant and former midwife who opposes the abortion and offered to care for the child. The three judges — Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King, and Lord Justice Peter Jackson — said they would provide their rationale for overturning the previous ruling at a later date.