Sir Edward Leigh called on the British government to 'take urgent action to ensure this barbaric practice is eliminated'
A British Member of Parliament has said a judge’s decision to force a disabled woman to have an abortion is “the kind of thing we expect in the People’s Republic of China”.
Sir Edward Leigh told the Catholic Herald it is “deeply disturbing to discover that forced abortions are not only legal in this country but that judges may order them.”
“Even more appalling is that a judge has ordered this even though the disabled Catholic Nigerian woman who is pregnant has a mother who is willing to look after the grandchild as well,” he added.
“The government should take urgent action to ensure this barbaric practice is eliminated from this country and from all countries.”
His comments come after a judge, Mrs Justice Lieven, ordered that a mother with “moderately severe” learning difficulties must have an abortion against her will.
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.” She added that the mother “would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed” to be adopted than from an abortion.
A petition asking Health Secretary Matt Hancock to intervene in the case has reached over 70,000 signatures just two days after launching. Campaign group Right to Life UK, which started the petition, said the judge’s decision was “utterly despicable”.
Spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “This is a horrific case of an unwanted, forced state intervention, ending the life of a baby without the mother’s consent. Counter to the ‘choice’ narrative of abortion advocates, the judgement in this case has ruled to the contrary. Forcing an abortion on a vulnerable woman is a violation of her own bodily autonomy and will inevitably cause her countless distress.”
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley also called for the Health Secretary to do all he can to stop the abortion, calling the judge’s decision “horrific”.
“This decision is wrong on so many levels,” he said. “It introduces a dangerous new development in the overreach of the power of the state over its citizens.”
“It is a wrong decision that has to be changed not just in the interests of this woman and her child but in the interests of everyone who believes in choice in the country.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “This is a matter for the courts so it is not appropriate for us to comment on the case.”