U.K. Appeals Court Overturns Ruling That Would Have Forced Mentally Disabled Woman To Get Abortion Against Her Will

Justice Natalie Lieven ruled it was in the woman's "best interests" because she has learning disabilities.


An appeals court in the United Kingdom has overturned a lower court ruling that would have forced a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant to have an abortion because she has learning disabilities.

The unidentified woman, who is in her twenties, did not want to terminate her pregnancy. But because she reportedly has the mental capacity of a 6-to-9-year-old child, Justice Nathalie Lieven of the Court of Protection argued it was for her own good. "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 wrote. "I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society's views of termination."

A National Health Service (NHS) trust that oversees the care of the mentally disabled woman asked the court to force the abortion because it feared that bringing the pregnancy to term would be harmful to her mental health. Lieven agreed. "I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll," the justice said.

The woman's mother, who is a former midwife, filed an appeal on Friday and said she was willing to care for the child. Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King, and Lord Justice Jackson of the Court of Appeal ruled in her favor, and said they will release the grounds for their decision in the future.

Lieven is reportedly an ardent supporter of abortion rights, which she has made clear in public statements and in prior cases.

The pregnant woman is a Catholic, and church leaders were quick to come to her defense. "Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes upon her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for the child," said Bishop John Sherrington, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, before the decision. "In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state."

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  1. Lieven is reportedly an ardent supporter of abortion rights

    Well apparently not.

    1. Indeed, it appears that Justice Nathalie Lieven is an ardent supporter of having the state decide on whether the state has a right to decide on a woman’s abortion rights. It appears that as long as the woman chooses to have an abortion she is on board.

      I personally take what I consider to be a consistent view; if a woman chooses to have an abortion I do not think that the state should overrule that choice. OTOH, if a woman chooses not to have an abortion I do not think that the state should overrule that choice either.

      Somehow in my mind’s eye I picture Justice Nathalie as a shrill, harpy, progressive/eugenicist version of Judge Judy.

      1. Judy… Wasn’t there a Judy Garland movie with Spencer Tracy and William Shatner, where an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote made forced sterilization The American/German Way?

      2. Let’s be fair to Judge Judy, she certainly calls people names and orders them to pay damages, but to my knowledge she hasn’t tried to kill anyone.

    2. Apparently, Kodos (or was it Kang) had it right all those years ago:
      “Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others!”

      1. Tiny Union Jacks. Or EU flags, because somehow I’m guessing this Judge Nathalie is a Remainer.

  2. “In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state.”

    Delicate, like the delicate way in which a mantis eats the brains out of its still-living pray.

    1. The English have a term for judges (and other public figures) like Justice Nathalie Lieven: the Loony Left.

    2. What Death Panels?

  3. Eventually, some investigative journalist at Reason will realize that Ireland comfortably repealed Amendment 8 which for 35 years has forced women into forced labor to suit the infallible Pederasty. The repeal votes were, after all, counted over a year ago. But since Reason readers are instead blinkered into the context of Christian nationalsocialist eugenics, one question is apropos: was a statutory rape indictment of whoever impregnated the equivalent of a “6 to 8-year-old child” true-billed in this case?

    1. This case was in England, not Ireland.

      The English have traditionally regarded the Irish as primitive savages. One of the reasons that the Northern Irish Protestants rejected union with the Irish Republic was over the Catholic prohibition, enshrined in Irish law, on contraception. Perhaps this is the reason for the crazy old man ranting so many of us old reasoners have come to know and love and ignore. It’s interesting that it is now the NI scots-irish proddies who are more restrictive on women’s reproductive rights than the old IRA papists.

      But what now brings me to not ignore you, is what is it that makes you think that this girl was impregnated due to “statutory rape”?

      Furthermore, what is it that makes you think that even if some kind of rape (assumes facts, not in evidence) occurred, the state, in the form of some self righteous busybody judge can order this girl to abort a child that she has unequivocally stated that she wants.

      Be careful with your answer or you may reveal yourself to be a eugenicist/progressive.

      1. The courts and laws have repeatedly held that a person of that mental capacity cannot consent to sexual activity. Unless the father was of a similar mental capacity (in which case it is for practical purposes, a standard underage pregnancy), it was rape by definition.

  4. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we can travel back in time to 2017…

    “The all–party law reform and human rights organisation, JUSTICE, this week published an important report on why we must take proactive and immediate steps to increase the diversity of the senior judiciary in England and Wales, and how we might do it….

    “…a homogeneous panel of judges will likely have a narrower set of life experiences and less variety of thought. As Nathalie Lieven QC (author of the JUSTICE report) points out that outcomes are not purely determined by personal characteristics but, like any human, a judge’s thought processes are bound to be reflected by his (or her?) experiences. Appointing a more diverse judiciary would increase the breadth of thought and understanding in the justice system….

    “The spirit of the report is that diversity must be sought in and of itself.”


    1. Fast forward a couple years…

      “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of a Justice of the High Court….

      “The candidate approved as a High Court Judge is Nathalie Lieven QC.”

      It’s a small world – that’s the same person who made an official report urging more judicial diversity.


  5. That NHS physicians have standing to bring suit to compel an action the patient and their next of kin disagree with is a terrible thing. This suit should never have gotten this far.

    1. This sort of suit is typically either to overrule parents when they are taking actions that will endanger the life of their child or to cease life support in an already-lost situation. It’s necessary, but should be exceptionally rare.

  6. Hmm…at least the British haven’t taken diversity too far. The pregnant woman and her mother are both Nigerian. As an author of Nigerian origin puts it:

    “As a Catholic Nigerian woman living in the United Kingdom, my heart is broken as I read the details and reports of this case…Our people still hold firmly to the belief that human life is precious even in the mother’s womb….

    “Most reports have failed to highlight that in the last fifteen years Lieven has had a prominent place in the British pro-abortion movement. She has been in the forefront of some of the landmark abortion-related cases in the country.

    “In 2005 Lieven represented the Family Planning Association (FPA), the U.K. member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a case where she argued fervently against the need for parents to consent to giving abortion or contraception advice to children under sixteen. Lieven argued that parents are no longer the best people to advise children on contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and abortions, and that they have no right to know if their children under age sixteen are seeking treatment.

    “In 2011 she fought for the cause of at-home abortions, representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)—the largest British abortion provider. In the case BPAS v Secretary of Health Lieven argued that women should be allowed to self-administer the second dose of abortion drugs at home. From 2015 to 2018, Lieven represented the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission as it launched legal action against Northern Ireland’s government, arguing that their pro-life law violated the human rights of women and girls. As lead counsel for NIHRC, Lieven argued that the laws protecting the unborn breached entitlements to privacy and rights to freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

    1. “As a Catholic…”

      And there it is

      1. Just because the Pope and bishps have decided to abandon the Catholic faith and Catholic practice is no reason for the Nigerians to do so.

        1. I think it’s hilarious how so many people think they get to tell the pope how to be catholic. It’s not supposed to work that way around, is it?

          1. It’s OK, everyone, Francis has Tony’s blessing. So we know they’re both strictly orthodox.

            1. Think of a combination of the Mafia, the court of Nero, and the Episcopalian Church, and you have the leaders of the modern Catholic Church, so it’s hardly any wonder Tony admires them so much.

        2. I figured the Catholic thing was why the British overlooked her Nigerian intersectionality and ordered the baby killed against her will

  7. On the one hand, this seems quite in character for British courts and their National Socialism Health System…
    On the other hand, Billy Binion is terribly unqualified for a job requiring either thinking or writing, and is fundamentally dishonest…

    So, like always, I’ll just stick to the comments to get the real story.

    P.S. – props to Eddy

    1. Your comment implies that the Reason article agreed with Justice Nathalie Lieven.

      You seem to be assuming facts not in evidence.

      My reading of the text is that it is an accurate report of the facts of the case reported without prejudice, except possibly with some indication that the writer was in agreement with the appeals court’s decision. Show me that I am wrong.

      1. I see no reason to read Reason articles.
        I have no respect for anyone that would hire Billy Binion – that’s the point.

  8. Well, yeah, I don’t know bout this NHS business, I just want to get back to talking with the candidates about my Medicare For All

  9. “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”

    “But we’re going to do it anyway because we know what’s best fro you”

    1. That fact that they even considered ordering it is proof they are not “acutely conscious” of that fact.

    2. The British are a strange people. Not strange in an interesting way, mind you.

  10. Everyone I have known, including my own mother, who called forced abortion or sterlization was on the progressive left. Pro-choice for them apparently means that the state gets to choose.

  11. I see the opportunity for a grand compromise that will finally put this issue to bed forever.

    Government can’t force you to get an abortion against your will, and government can’t force you to give birth against your will.

    If you want to argue you’re just being a dick who doesn’t want to move past this.

    1. How about a compromise:

      Government can’t force you to own a slave against your will and government can’t force you to liberate a slave whom you want to keep in slavery.

      If you want to be argue you’re just an abolitionist New England Puritan fanatic.

      1. Just the sort of forward-moving contribution to the debate I expected.

        1. Yet people with more brains than you were deluded enough to make such arguments.

          All you can do is borrow, unacknowledged, the arguments of the soft-on-slavery crowd without even the grace of thanking them for helping you with your talking points.

    2. “government can’t force you to give birth against your will.”

      You know the fetus/baby comes out the same way whether it’s an abortion or birth, right? Just checking. Because the point of abortion is not the avoidance of that part. The point is avoiding the “taking care of a new person” part.

  12. that’s perfect for women in the worls ,Great!

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