Medical staff may perform an abortion on a troubled woman, the Court of Protection has ruled.
The mother of two’s relationship with the father of her youngest child apparently “became characterised by domestic violence perpetrated on her by her partner”. In December she discovered she was pregnant again and told her sister that she did not want to keep it.
Shortly after this conversation the woman was admitted to hospital with several serious injuries, particularly to her head. Her partner is reported to have violently assaulted her. As a result of these injuries she developed memory problems and her behaviour became “agitated, restless, disruptive and extremely unsettled”.
Doctors worried about her ability to make her own decisions regarding her treatment and pregnancy due to her “post-traumatic amnesia”. While it was possible that she could make a full recovery the medical staff were convinced this would not occur before it was too late to legally get an abortion. So they asked the Court of Protection to declare that she did not have the capacity so they could terminate the pregnancy on her behalf.
A consulting psychiatrist noted that the woman was “unable to understand or retain relevant information” and also could not concentrate “for more than a very short period of time”.
The woman’s sister, mother and friends all gave evidence to the Court. They said that she had “expressed an intention on a number of occasions prior to the injury that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy”. On this point the judge said the evidence was “overwhelming and all one way”.
Mr Justice Baker declared that she did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about her own treatment and that termination of her pregnancy was in her best interests.
Read CS (Termination of Pregnancy) online here.
Photo by Contando Estrelas via Flickr