Because the Court of Protection's original decision was rendered so close to the legal limit for abortion in the U.K. - the 24th week of pregnancy - court documents revealed that AB was being seen at a doctor's office for the first pre-abortion appointment when her case was scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal.
Had the Court of Appeal not overturned Lieven's decision, AB would have returned to the hospital June 25 for the first part of the abortion procedure. The abortion would have been carried out June 25 and 26, shortly before her pregnancy reached its 23rd week. Both days would have required that AB go under general anesthesia, and she would have been told "in simple terms" that she would no longer be pregnant when she woke up.
According to the care plan submitted by the doctors petitioning for the forced abortion, the woman would be given a baby doll to replace the baby she was carrying.
"To minimise the potential impact of not having a baby girl to take home with her AB can be given a new 'baby doll' soon after the procedure to keep with her. AB is known to enjoy keeping a doll. The doll will need to be female, and AB can keep it with her/dress it etc," read her care plan.
AB is believed to have become pregnant while visiting family in Nigeria over Christmas. It is unknown who is the father of the child, and it is conceded by all parties that she lacks the capacity to consent to sex.
The case generated substantial outcry at the time the decision of the Court of Protection was reported.
The Court of Appeals decision noted that the case turned primarily on the relative truama AB would have endured, either through an enforced surgical abortion or the likely loss of her child once born.
Had the woman's medical team applied to enforce a termination at an earlier stage, the appeal court found, it "would have thrown up entirely different issues, given that at that stage AB was entirely unaware and had no understanding of the concept of pregnancy, and that the pregnancy could have been brought to an end in a non-invasive way."
While Lieven's conclusion on the balance and weight of evidence was rejected by the appeal court, King nevertheless underscored the right of the court to impose an abortion if the circumstances merit it.
"Carrying out a termination absent a woman's consent is a most profound invasion of her Article 8 [human] rights, albeit that the interference will be legitimate and proportionate if the procedure is in her best interests," King concluded.
Clare McCarthy, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, said in a statement that the decision was a "chilling" reminder of the life and death power of UK courts.
(Story continues below)
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"As the ruling from the Court of Appeal made clear, the right to life of the baby held no weight in court, as the 'the court does not take into account the interests of the foetus but only those of the mother.' This is despite the fact that the baby, this late in gestation, would in some cases have been able to survive outside of the womb," McCarthy said.
"Although it is a major relief that the Court of Appeal came to this decision, and that the forced abortion did not take place, it is a chilling case that demonstrates the power the court holds over life and death."