Troubling questions surround court decision that abortion is in woman’s “best interests”

By Dave Andrusko

Justice Baker

Justice Baker

This may be one of the most revolting stories I have ever read, courtesy of something called “Stowe Family Law,” a law firm in England.

The headline is “Judge approves abortion for trouble woman.”

What is the “trouble”? The mother of two [referred to as “C.S.”], she had been beaten by her partner, the father of her younger child. According to Justice Baker’s decision, when she became pregnant in December, she told her sister “that she did not want to have another baby by her current partner in her current circumstances, that she wanted to have an abortion and wanted her sister to accompany her to the clinic.”

The news account went on to say

Shortly after this conversation the woman was admitted to hospital with several serious injuries, particularly to her head. Her partner is reported to have violently assaulted her. As a result of these injuries she developed memory problems and her behaviour became “agitated, restless, disruptive and extremely unsettled”.

Doctors worried about her ability to make her own decisions regarding her treatment and pregnancy due to her “post-traumatic amnesia”. While it was possible that she could make a full recovery the medical staff were convinced this would not occur before it was too late to legally get an abortion. So they asked the Court of Protection to declare that she did not have the capacity so they could terminate the pregnancy on her behalf.

And Justice Baker of the England and Wales Court of Protection dutifully “declared that she did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about her own treatment and that termination of her pregnancy was in her best interests.”

A number of troubling questions instantly jump up. First, we assume the baby was aborted, since Justice Baker gave the go-ahead on January 22[!] But we don’t know.

Second, if she was being beaten by her partner, the answer was not to abort her child but to get her and her two children away from him. Why did that not happen, and what charges, if any, were filed against the boyfriend?

Third, Justice Baker writes of the statements of four friends “concerning conversations to that effect [that she wanted to abort] and in addition the evidence of her mother and sister on that point.”

But ask yourself, how far along was she? The story mentions nothing, but the opinion notes the time “the termination of pregnancy can be carried out is limited; it will in fact expire next week.” In theory the legal limit is 24 weeks. That means CS was 23 weeks pregnant, long past the time she could feel her baby move and long past the time the child would experience pain when he or she was aborted.

Is it not reasonable to assume she may have felt differently and were the parties involved not so concerned to abort the child before the legal limit was reached, they might have at least considered that. Nothing in the justice’s opinion suggests that came up.

That is, until you get near the end of the opinion. All of a sudden we read

The Official Solicitor’s representative visited CS earlier this week. When she spoke to her about these proceedings and asked her what she wanted she told the Official Solicitor’s representative that she wanted to keep the baby.

But that startling new development didn’t even slow Justice Baker down:

However, it was suggested by her mother – and in my view highly likely – that when she said that CS was referring not to the baby she was carrying but rather to her 12-month old child. In those circumstances I do not consider that that particular view is one to which I should attach any particular weight. Overall it was the view of the Official Solicitor’s representative that her presentation and responses demonstrated that she did not have capacity to make decisions or instruct a solicitor in respect of those matters

Convenient.

This is a terrible tragedy–a woman beaten by her partner before she became pregnant with her third child and after. Will his crimes go unpunished?

For now, we can only assume that the only one punished was a wholly innocent unborn child.