NICHOLAS Coote, Assistant General Secretary to the, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, attacked last weeks High Court decision to permit a mentally handicapped woman to have an abortion, saying "this is not a medical question. It's an ethical question".
Mr Coote told the Catholic Herald: "These issues have been wrongly worded in medical terms. It's simply more convenient for everyone all round for the woman to have an abortion, but the judgement completely disregards the need of the child".
The High Court ruled that the women, who is 25 but has a mental age of just three and a half, was unable to give an informed consent for the operation.
However, Mr Coote claimed that the decision was vague, as it used terminology like "substantial risk" (of the fetus being affected by Down's syndrome), which, he said, did not help in addressing the ethical issues involved.
"This is the third recent case of this kind", he said, "and is in keeping with the drift of the others in trying to make the case into one of 'clinical judgement'. It should not only be a clinical or medical judgement, but an ethical one, too".