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British court orders mother to have abortion against her will

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The mother, who has a learning disorder, is 22 weeks pregnant

A British court has ruled that a mother must be forced to have an abortion.

The mother, who cannot be named, is in her 20s, but has been diagnosed with a “moderately severe” learning disorder which means she has a mental age between six and nine.

The Press Association reports that her unborn child is 22 weeks old.

The woman’s doctors argued that an abortion was in her “best interests”. But her social worker disagreed, and her legal team said there was “no proper evidence” to show this.

Her legal team said that, although they accepted the woman was unable to give or withhold consent, the woman’s own mother believed that doctors “underestimated [her] ability and understanding, and that more weight should be place on her wishes and feelings”.

The woman’s mother, a Nigerian Catholic, has offered to care for her grandchild when it is born. But the judge, Mrs Justice Lieven, said that it would be too difficult for the grandmother to look after both the daughter and the grandchild.

Justice Lieven said it was an “enormous” decision and that she was “acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn’t want it is an immense intrusion”.

Although the mother wanted to bring the pregnancy to term, Justice Lieven said: “I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll.”

The judge said that the mother “would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed” to be adopted than from an abortion.