The group’s chairwoman, Kerry Abel, said in an emailed statement: “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.”
The woman was under the care of a National Health Service trust, which sought the court’s permission for doctors to perform the abortion, the court was told. The council that employs the social worker had also asked for a decision.
Both the woman and her mother, identified by news reports as a former midwife from Nigeria, are against terminating the pregnancy, with the older woman offering to care for the child, according to the court and news media reports. The woman’s lawyers and a social worker also objected to terminating the pregnancy.
It was not immediately clear whether the woman and her lawyers had the option of appealing the decision.
Under Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act, abortions can be performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy. A section of the abortion act allows the termination of a pregnancy if there is a significant risk of the baby’s being born seriously disabled. Otherwise, abortions must take place during the first six months of pregnancy.
The Disability Rights Commission denounced that portion of the act in 2001, calling it discriminatory and “offensive to many people.”
According to the latest statistics from Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care, there were 200,608 abortions by residents in England and Wales last year, a 4 percent rise compared with 2017, the highest number on record. (The figure rose to 205,295 when nonresidents were counted.)
U.K. Court Says Mentally Disabled Woman Must Have Abortion – The New York Times