Following the Court of Appeal judgment on Tuesday 24 June, overturning the Court of Protection’s ruling forcing a young woman to have an abortion against her will, Bishop John Sherrington, the bishop who takes the lead on life issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales said:
‘I welcome the decision of the three Court of Appeal judges to overturn the initial ruling by Mrs Justice Lieven.
‘It is both astonishing and shocking that the NHS should seek to end a healthy pregnancy against the wishes of the pregnant woman, her mother, and her social worker.
‘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.
‘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.’