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Woman with mental age of child to have abortion, court rules | UK News

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A pregnant woman with the mental age of a six to nine-year-old is to be given an abortion, a court has ruled.

The judge decided a pregnancy termination would be in the unnamed woman’s best interests, despite objections from her mother.

Mrs Justice Lieven described the case as “heartbreaking” after hearing evidence at the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions are considered.

The NHS Trust which has been caring for the woman had called for doctors to be allowed to perform an abortion, with specialists saying a termination was the best option.

But the woman’s mother – a former midwife – was against abortion and said she could care for the child, with help from her daughter.

A social worker who works with the woman also said the pregnancy should continue.

The woman, who is in her twenties and 22 weeks pregnant, has been diagnosed with “moderately severe” learning difficulties and a mood disorder.

The court ruled she cannot be publicly named.

A police investigation to establish how the pregnancy happened is ongoing.

A female judge hitting a gavel
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The judge said she had an ‘enormous’ decision to make

Mrs Justice Lieven said she had to make an “enormous” decision based on what was in the woman’s best interests and had considered the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act and the 2005 Mental Capacity Act before reaching a conclusion.

The judge said the woman did not have the mental capacity to make her own decision but appeared to want the child.

She said the woman did not fully understand what having a baby meant, adding: “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.”

In a ruling, Mrs Justice Lieven said: “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.

“I have to operate in (her) best interests, not on society’s views of termination.”

The woman would be unable to care for the child on her own and the judge was concerned about the risks posed by the woman’s behavioural and psychological problems.

She said the woman may have to leave home if the baby was placed in the care of the woman’s mother.

The child could also potentially be placed into foster care.

The judge said she believed the woman would suffer more distress if the baby was taken away, rather than if it was terminated.

“Pregnancy, although real to her, doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch,” she said.

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