Appeal judges overturn ‘forced abortion’ ruling

The woman's mother, a former midwife, challenged the decision to force her daughter to have a termination
The woman's mother, a former midwife, challenged the decision to force her daughter to have a termination
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Doctors must not be allowed to perform an abortion on a pregnant mentally ill woman, Court of Appeal judges have ruled.

A judge on Friday concluded that a pregnancy termination was in the woman’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Lieven had analysed evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, in London.

But three appeal judges on Monday over-ruled that decision after the woman’s mother, a former midwife, mounted a challenge.

Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson had considered the challenge at a Court of Appeal hearing in London.

They said they would give reasons for their decision at a later date.

Lawyers said they thought the circumstances of the case were unique.

Bosses at an NHS hospital trust responsible for the woman’s care had asked Mrs Justice Lieven to let doctors perform an abortion.

Three specialists, an obstetrician and two psychiatrists, said a termination was the best option because of the risk to the woman’s psychiatric health if pregnancy continued.

They said the woman’s daughter’s behaviour could pose a risk to a baby.

Specialists also said taking a baby from the woman would cause greater psychiatric harm than terminating the pregnancy.

The woman’s mother was against termination and said she could care for the child.

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

Lawyers who represented the woman also said she should be allowed to give birth.

But Mrs Justice Lieven said a balance of evidence showed that termination was the best option.