LONDON (CNS) — English bishops welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling that a pregnant mentally disabled woman did not need to have an abortion.
On June 24, the court overturned an earlier Court of Protection ruling that the Nigerian Catholic woman in her 20s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, must undergo the abortion because it was in her “best interests.” The woman has the mental age of between 6 and 9 years and is about 22 weeks pregnant.
“It is both astonishing and shocking” that England’s National Health Service “should seek to end a healthy pregnancy against the wishes of the pregnant woman, her mother, and her social worker,” said Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster, who takes the lead on life issues for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
“Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, would have infringed her human rights and the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for this child. In a free society like ours, there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state, and the initial ruling upset that balance. I am therefore pleased that the recent ruling has taken the woman’s best interests into account and has upheld her rights in this case,” he said.
“This case raises fundamental questions of human rights, and there is now an urgent need for the government to clarify what the limits are on the powers of the NHS to force abortions on women who do not want them,” he said.
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury told Catholic News Service, “It would have been a dark day for the British legal system if the courts forced a mother against her will to have an abortion.”
“The disregard of the fundamental right to life of the unborn child would be compounded by the disregard of the rights of the mother and her family,” he said. “It is impossible to comprehend how a court could also fail to take into account the damage inflicted by abortion on a woman’s health and well-being.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103