To our great national shame, there’s a ruling not unlike this one buried in the archives of the U.S. Supreme Court, long since derided as one of the worst in American history. (And authored by one of the Court’s greatest justices, no less.)
That case is no longer good law, although I’m not sure if it’s ever been explicitly overruled. In the UK, though, the eugenic principle underlying it seemingly stands: When the disabled try to reproduce, the state may lawfully take drastic measures to prevent it, up to and including unwanted surgical intervention.
Why not adoption here, you say? Why not let grandma, who told the court that she’s willing, raise the baby instead? Good questions. All I can tell you is that the holy church of Choice sometimes doesn’t allow for … choice. Even when — or especially when? — the choice in question is driven by religious conviction.
“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,” said Justice Nathalie Lieven in her ruling in the Court of Protection, June 21…
Doctors at the trust wished to abort her pregnancy and argued that, due to her diminished mental capacity, the abortion would be less traumatic for the woman than giving birth, especially if the baby would then be placed in foster care…
The woman’s mother, reported to be a former midwife, registered her absolute opposition to the abortion citing the Catholic faith of herself and her daughter. A social worker who cares for the woman also disagreed that she should be forced to have an abortion…
Lieven also said that she did not believe the woman’s ongoing mental health care needs would permit her mother to assist in raising the child.
Note that it’s not just the family’s wishes that are being overruled. An arm of the state itself opposes termination. But anyway, what about adoption? (And why not let the woman’s mother at least try to manage raising the baby?) Well, said the court, it’d be simply too wrenching and confusing for a woman with the mental capacity of a child to have her newborn baby snatched away after it’s been born and given to another family.
The humane, and apparently far less wrenching, thing to do is to forcibly kill the child in her womb over her objections instead.
This wouldn’t be an early termination either, do note. The woman is reportedly 22 weeks pregnant, a stage at which fetuses are viable if they receive good medical care. Whether the court considered viability in its calculations is unclear, although it doesn’t sound like it: Reportedly, one of the reasons the judge preferred abortion to adoption is that asking the mother to part with, and I quote, “a real baby” would have been too cruel. The entire point of this case is that the woman and her family consider the child in her womb to be a “real baby” already, but the state in its infinite wisdom will substitute its own judgment on that.
The fact that Catholic News Agency is pushing this story raises hopes that it’ll come to the attention of the Pope, who can put some pressure on the UK to rethink this — but only so much. Remember, the Pope also championed the case of Alfie Evans, the British infant with a degenerative neurological disorder whose parents wanted him to receive longshot treatment for his illness in Italy. The Italian government okayed it, Italian doctors okayed it, the Pope endorsed it, but Alfie’s British doctors insisted that he was incurable. In the end, the UK wouldn’t let him go. He ended up dying in a hospital room, not even at home per his parents’ wishes because the government feared mom and dad might abscond with him to Italy in a desperate bid to, er, save his life. This is the mentality facing this woman and her mother in fighting for her child to be born: The British state will fight tooth and nail to have a possibly perfectly healthy baby liquidated because their authority will not be questioned.
Here’s the Pope last year comparing abortion to hiring a hitman. How often does a judge hire a hitman to take out a baby?