Declaration that the P, who was pregnant, should have a termination was set aside.
The P, who had a mental age of between 6 and 9, became pregnant whilst visiting Nigeria. Having carried out psychiatric and social assessments, the NHS Foundation Trust responsible for the antenatal care of the P concluded that it would be in her best interests for the pregnancy to be terminated. It was common ground that the P lacked capacity to consent to a termination. Her adoptive mother was implacably opposed to the proposal and, accordingly, the Trust made an application to the High Court. The judge held that it was lawful in the present circumstances for a doctor treating her to carry out a termination in accordance with the criteria as set out in section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 notwithstanding her incapacity to provide legal consent. The mother appealed.
The court allowed the appeal. The judge's conclusion as to what was in the P's best interests was substantially anchored in the medical evidence. In the court's judgement, that medical evidence, without more, did not in itself convincingly demonstrate the need for such profound intervention. The declaration was set aside.
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