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United Kingdom: woman forced by judge to have abortion. Mgr. Sherrington, tragedy and infringement of rights

“This is a sad and distressing decision for the whole family”. This is how UK Catholic Bishop John Sherrington (pictured), Auxiliary of Westminster, reacted to the decision by a UK court to order a woman to have an abortion. The Bishop said on the website of the Bishops’ Conference: “Every abortion is a tragedy”, a tragedy which is “compounded” in this case since the Court ruled that “a mother, who is in her 20s and has a ‘moderately severe’ learning disability and who wishes to keep her child at 22 weeks, must have an abortion”. The Bishop reported that the mother’s wish to keep the child “is supported by her social worker and her legal team”. “Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for this child”, the Bishop went on to write. “In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state”, Mgr. Sherrington stated. Moreover, this case, “for which all the information is not available, raises serious questions about the meaning of ‘best interests’ when a patient lacks mental capacity and is subject to the court’s decision against her will”.

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