United Kingdom

Doctors to carry out abortion on woman with severe learning difficulties after London court hearing

Doctors will carry out an abortion on a pregnant woman with learning difficulties, after being given the green light by a judge.

The woman, who cannot be named, is in her twenties, but has the mental capacity of a toddler.

It is not clear is she was raped or had sex with a man who also has learning difficulties and did not understand the situation, the Court of Protection in London heard. 

Hospital bosses urged the court to let them carry out a termination as they believed it would be in the woman's best interest. 

A judge has agreed and a surgical abortion will take place in the coming week.    

Doctors will carry out an abortion on a pregnant woman with learning difficulties, after being given the green light by a judge. File image used 

The Court of Protection judge, who hears cases about those unable to make decisions for themsleves, was told how a GP had recently discovered that the woman, who is in her 20s but has the mental capacity of a toddler, was pregnant.

He was told that a police investigation was under way, with officers planning to carry out DNA tests in a bid to establish the identity of the father.

Bosses at a NHS hospital trust responsible for the woman's care had asked him to allow doctors to perform a surgical termination.

Barrister Eloise Power, who represented hospital bosses, said the woman had lived with foster carers for most of her life.

Ms Power said the woman's foster parents were Christians and churchgoers.

But she said the couple were sure that an abortion was in the woman's best interests.

Ms Power said medical specialists and council social workers involved also all agreed that a surgical termination was the right option.

Mr Justice Williams said medics could restrain the woman in order to administer a general anaesthetic if necessary.

The judge said the woman, who lives in the north of England, could not be identified in media reports.

He also said the names of the hospital and council involved could not be revealed in case that information created a jigsaw which pointed to the woman's identity.

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