Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

U.K. backs down from forced abortion

Abortion | British pro-lifers welcome court ruling but worry about growing disrespect for life
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 7/01/19, 05:14 pm

A British appellate court’s decision that a London woman with an intellectual disability will not have to undergo an abortion against her will came as a relief to pro-life groups.

“This could not be better news for all concerned,” said Liz Parsons, head of advocacy for the U.K. group Life. “There is no way such a judgment should ever have been made, and had it gone ahead [it] would have been a most grave violation of human rights.”

The woman, whose name has not been made public, is under the care of the National Health Service, which asked courts for permission to abort her baby. She is in her 20s and about 22 weeks pregnant. She has the mental abilities of a 6- to 9-year-old, and the circumstances of the baby’s conception are apparently under investigation. Her mother, reportedly a former midwife, opposed the abortion because of her and her daughter’s Catholic faith.

Last month, Justice Nathalie Lieven, ruling for the Court of Protection, which handles cases for the mentally incompetent, wrote that it was in the woman’s “best interests” to have an abortion. “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” Lieven wrote.

Three days later, the mother’s lawyer said a British appeals court overturned Lieven’s decision. Deborah Piroch, spokeswoman for Human Life International (HLI), told me this case and that of Alfie Evans, a British toddler with unexplained brain damage whom courts and doctors refused to keep alive last year, show an “increasing disrespect for the sanctity of human life … almost in defiance refusing just and humane care.”

“HLI is wholeheartedly supportive of this decision to uphold the right to life for this and every child,” Piroch said. “It is not the province of any doctor or court to attempt to determine, in a eugenic fashion, who is ‘fit’ to bear children. No abortion should ever be forced on any woman, and there is no justification for abortion.”

Soon the baby will receive protection from the nation’s 1967 Abortion Act, which protects children from abortion past 24 weeks of gestation unless the baby is likely to be seriously disabled.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Marshae Jones

Across the nation

Alabama: A Birmingham grand jury indicted 27-year old Marshae Jones for manslaughter in the death of her baby during a fight in December with 23-year old Ebony Jemison. Jemison shot Jones, who was about five months pregnant, killing the baby. The jury said there was enough evidence to charge Jones because she allegedly started the fight and Jemison shot her in self-defense. The district attorney has not decided whether to prosecute the case. 

Kentucky: U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers told Gov. Matt Bevin’s lawyer that the state needs to expedite processing of a license for Planned Parenthood’s Louisville facility. “You better move this one up to the front of the line,” Stivers said, according to a phone transcript obtained by The Courier-Journal of Louisville. 

North Dakota: The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit on Tuesday on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinic and the American Medical Association against two pro-life laws. The laws require abortionists to tell mothers about a reversal process for chemically induced abortions and that abortion ends “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

Missouri: The state once again refused to renew a license for the last abortion center in Missouri based on failed abortions and other health and safety violations. Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi, administrative hearing commissioner, ruled Friday that Planned Parenthood of St. Louis can keep providing abortions while it appeals the license denial. “It’s outrageous but not unexpected that Planned Parenthood will be able to continue performing abortions in St. Louis despite its record of shoddy patient care and the state’s decision not to renew its license,” said Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. 

Georgia: The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Southeast filed suit against the state’s new law that protects babies from abortion after they have a detectable heartbeat. The law is set to take effect on Jan. 1. —S.G

Associated Press/Photo by Matilde Campodonico (file) Associated Press/Photo by Matilde Campodonico (file) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization

Harmful self-care

The World Health Organization released a new guideline last week that endorses at-home abortions as “self-care.” The document recommends abortion-inducing pills “without the supervision of a healthcare provider” for “pregnant individuals” in certain circumstances—mainly women who have access to emergency services if a complication arises at home.

WHO said self-care for sex and pregnancy “has perhaps the greatest potential to address unmet needs or demands in marginalized populations or in contexts of limited access to healthcare, including, for instance, self-managed abortion in countries where abortion is illegal or restricted.”

Rebecca Oas, writing for the Center for Family and Human Rights, pointed out that WHO doesn’t make sure women are informed when they seek abortion drugs or have access to medical help.

“It also leaves unaddressed the questions of how mail order abortion pills and other black market sources can put women at risk of being administered abortion drugs without consent by abusive partners, parents, or others, such as human traffickers,” Oas wrote. —S.G.

Georgia’s most wanted

An abandoned newborn discovered in a wooded area on June 6 in Georgia is now one of the most wanted babies around. More than a thousand people have stepped forward to open their homes to “Baby India,” Forsyth County authorities said. The baby, who was wrapped in a plastic bag, covered with blood, and crying, is now in the custody of the county Division of Family and Children Services. 

“It’s amazing the number of people who are looking to take on a new life into their families, and we got somebody who tried to throw one away,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • CM
    Posted: Wed, 07/03/2019 02:03 am

    How can force abortion be "Pro-choice"?  It is a relief that the courts responded in this manner, but it is amazing that the case should have gotten that far.