Learning Difficulties Don't Stop You Being A Mum! - Direct2Mum

Learning Difficulties Don't Stop You Being A Mum!

Learning Difficulties Don't Stop You Being A Mum!

A High Court has ruled that a woman with severe learning difficulties can be allowed to make her own choice about whether to go on with her pregnancy.


The judge has ruled that even though people with learning difficulties do lack the mental capacity for certain aspects of normal life, they can still make "deeply personal decisions".

The woman has not been identified, but has been reported to be 18 weeks pregnant.

She was born with sickle cell anaemia, which means that her red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, are deformed. Instead of being disc-shaped, they are sickle-shaped, making them inefficient at supplying the body with oxygen.

This also means that her chances of experiencing a blood clot and then a possible stroke are quite high.

The woman, who lives with her mother and sister in the South of England, suffered a series of strokes and was consequently left with brain damage and learning difficulties.

The Court was told that she was in the bottom 1% of the country with regard to intellectual function.

She was awarded substantial damages from her medical treatment, but was not mentally capable of dealing with the finances. As a result, two deputies were assigned.
One of the deputies, the woman's solicitor, questioned her mental capacity to continue with her pregnancy.

Dr Stephen Tyrer, a psychiatrist, told the Court of Protection in London, that the woman did have the capacity "to decide whether or not to continue with, or terminate, her pregnancy".

Mr Justice Hedley said "It is right to observe that both expert and professional and family evidence in the case is it would be in her best interests to continue with the pregnancy, but that is with the jurisdiction of this court".

He said that those with learning difficulties "may very well retain the capacity to make deeply personal decisions about how they conduct their lives".



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