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Teenager with learning difficulties can keep baby, court rules

A senior judge at the Court of Protection has ruled against a compulsory termination for a mentally impaired woman who has fallen pregnant.

Doctors treating the teenager had sought the termination because they believed her pregnancy, now at 18 weeks, could be life-threatening. The unnamed woman suffers from the serious congenital circulatory condition sickle cell anaemia, and has suffered a number of strokes, leaving her with severe learning difficulties. Her mental abilities were described in court as in the “bottom one per cent of theUK population” and as a result, her doctors said, she could not  a decision about the situation.

However, Mr Justice Hedley ruled at the High Court hearing that, according to an independent psychiatric  report, the woman did have the capacity to “…decide whether or not to continue with, or terminate, pregnancy”.

He said that even if people did have the mental capabilities required to take in legal proceedings, they “…may very well retain the capacity to make deeply personal decisions about how they conduct their lives” and should be allowed to do so whenever possible.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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