Britain’s Compulsory Abortion Fight Shows Risks of Government-Controlled Health Care


June 26, 2019 The Daily Signal - The Heritage Foundation

After doctors in Britain’s single-payer health system recommended that a mentally disabled woman undergo an abortion, a judge ordered the woman—an unidentified Roman Catholic—to have an abortion against her will. 

In her June 21 decision, Justice Nathalie Lieven—a judge in Britain’s Court of Protection, a panel that handles cases involving the mentally disabled—declared, “I have to operate in her best interests, not on society’s view of termination.” 

The case was quickly appealed —and, happily, quickly overturned.

Britain’s Court of Appeals on June 24 reversed Lieven’s order and ruled that British physicians cannot abort the intellectually disabled woman’s unborn child.

The three-judge panel has yet to issue its reasoning in the case, but its rationale cannot come too soon. In the meantime, the facts of the case are instructive.

The New York Times reports that the woman, of Nigerian descent, has been diagnosed with a “‘moderately severe’ learning disorder and a mood disorder.” There was, according to the Times report, no evidence that the unborn 22-week-old fetus was “impaired.”

In short, the proposed compulsory abortion was to be the late-term destruction of a healthy child. 

In her ruling, Lieven opined, “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.” The woman’s mental suffering would be worse, she asserted, if the child had to be removed and put up for adoption.

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