A study just published in the USA finds horrifying mistreatment of pregnant women based on misguided application of ‘pro-life’ laws.
The groundbreaking research reveals how attempts to create a separate legal entity for fetuses have led to arrests, detentions, and forced medical interventions on pregnant women.
Co-authored by Lynn Paltrow at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an inspirational organisation fighting hard to resist the rising incursions on pregnant women’s autonomy in the name of their unborn child.
The Guardian has reported today on the UK Borders Agency refusal to stop its security contractors (the notorious G4S) using force to remove pregnant women from the UK. Pregnant women have reported being mistreated by G4S staff – including being pushed in the stomach and dragged around the floor.
The Prison Inspectorate reported on mistreatment in October and recommended that the use of force ceased.
Medical Justice, a charity investigating healthcare abuses in immigration detention, is doing great work about the treatment of pregnant women detainees.
Pregnant women with severe learning difficulties “may very well retain capacity to make deeply personal decisions about their own medical care”. A great decision from Mr Justice Hedley sitting in the Court of Protection.
The woman, who is unnamed for legal reasons, has very severe learning difficulties and is said to be in the bottom 1% of the population for cognitive ability. Her doctors approached the court to ask whether she had the mental capacity to decide whether to continue with her pregnancy. The judge made the very important legal point that those who lack the mental capacity to make decisions about key areas such as money and living arrangements may nonetheless be able to make deeply personal decisions about sex, relationships and giving birth. She is entitled to make her own decision about whether to have an abortion.
You can see a report of the judgment in the Independent.
Birthrights factsheet on consenting to treatment explains the law on mental capacity and pregnancy.