A British judge ordered on Friday that an abortion be performed on a mentally disabled woman who is 22 weeks pregnant - despite objections from the woman and her mother.

Justice Nathalie Lieven admitted it was an "immense intrusion" to order the abortion against the woman's will in the "heartbreaking" case, but she argued it was in the woman's best interests, Fox News reports.

"I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the state to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn't want it is an immense intrusion," the justice said. "I have to operate in (her) best interests, not on society's views of termination."

The unnamed woman, a Roman Catholic, reportedly has developmental disabilities and the mental age of a six to nine-year-old. She has been described as being in her 20s and is in the care of an NHS trust as part of the country's National Health Service.

A British judge has ordered a disabled 22-weeks pregnant woman to have abortion against her will. Picture: istock
A British judge has ordered a disabled 22-weeks pregnant woman to have abortion against her will. Picture: istock

The woman's mother, a former midwife, opposes the abortion procedure and told the court she could take care of the child with the support from the daughter, Sky News reported.

A social worker who works with the woman also said the pregnancy should not be terminated.

But the judge said the woman didn't have the mental capacity to make her own decisions even though it looked like she wanted to continue the pregnancy.

"I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll," she said, pointing out the woman didn't fully comprehend what having a baby entails.

She added having a child would be more traumatic for the woman than aborting it, as she wouldn't be able to take care of the child due to the risk posed by her mental health problems, and it would have to be put in a foster care.

"Pregnancy, although real to her, doesn't have a baby outside her body she can touch," Justice Lieven added.

British charity Life, which says its mission is to create a society that "has the utmost respect for all human life from fertilisation", has slammed the decision, calling it "truly horrendous" in a Facebook post.

Life's head of advocacy, Liz Parsons, said: "This is the most extraordinary violation and overbearing ruling that I have ever seen. We are greatly concerned about this ruling."

Commentators on the site described it as "terrible" and "devastating".

Police are reportedly investigating how the pregnancy happened in the first place.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission


Don’t fall into tax cuts trap

Don’t fall into tax cuts trap

Don't get caught up in the excitement of tax time

The Vikings know how to make the most of winter fashion

The Vikings know how to make the most of winter fashion

There's not much time to indulge in some winter fashion in Lismore

Here's to the next 25 years of light and friendship

Here's to the next 25 years of light and friendship

Lismore attracts thousands to its lantern and friendship festival