News out of England these days threatens the security of autonomy in one’s own personal life and those in the United States would do well to be informed of the circumstances. The storyline indicates that Justice Nathalie Lievan has instructed a 22-year-old to receive an abortion. Her rationale is that the woman, who had developmental disabilities, is unable to make the appropriate decision for her life despite receiving objections both from the pregnant woman and her mother. Most people do little to look at the events beyond their own borders, but such a story should raise particular concerns for those in the United States.
With an ocean between there seems to be little reason for U.S. dwellers to consider the events that come out of Europe. Those events though, have the propensity to impact the mentality of United States society. In fact, many cultural analysts will indicate that when something occurs in England, it will likely make the transatlantic journey in 10-20 years. It is not uncommon to look back in history and see the social trend in the United States mirror the trend in England, only later. Such issues as slavery, homosexuality, and women clergy have all found a place in English society before migrating to the United States.
Not only should individuals be aware of the events in England, but they should be wary of judgments that are initiated from a level of superiority. Before moving too far along in this discussion, I must note that I do not have an understanding of the English system and so cannot comment on the system itself. Because of the woman’s mental state, she is under state care and guidance, so it seems that the state, not the girl’s mother who makes decisions about her well-being. Not knowing if this is normal or if there were circumstances that led to those specifics means it would not be prudent for me to comment. What is evident in this case, is the judge’s ruling as one who is elevated over this woman. There is a great difference between authority and superiority. As a judge, Justice Nathalie Lievan has been placed into a position of authority, allowed to make binding rulings for those that appear before her. However, in this case, the judge goes beyond a level of authority to one of superiority. She notes that she must operate in the woman’s best interest even if it is beyond the will of her or her mother. Such a mindset substitutes the intimate acquaintance of those involved in the circumstances and replaces it with the judge’s interpretation. That logic asserts that she, as the judge, has more knowledge and wisdom about the situation than both the woman and her mother. While there is a role for such interpretation and influence, this case is not the enforcement of regulation but the imposition of an ideology. Such a mentality has far reaching consequences.
Finally, there is reason to be cautious of decisions that do not consider alternatives. From outside appearances, this particular case suggests that the judge did not consider any alternatives in her impositions. No options of adoption, oversight, or assistance was given. Of greater concern in this oversight is the unwillingness to consider the truth . . . a characteristic often present when alternatives are not considered. This is because they usually represent a quick pronouncement of judgment combined with a lack of attention to situational veracity and interpretation and little consideration of absolute truth.
The case of the 22-year-old woman represents an important aspect of the new societal model that should be concerning not only to Christians, but to the secular world as well. For a secular world that is motivated by self-autonomy, a court-imposed decision of this nature should raise a level of concern. For Christians motivated by God’s glory and guided by God’s truth, the secularized enforcement of distorted truth incites concerns over the right to persist in God’s ways. The issues being raised are not ones of preference or privilege, but ones of rights and decrees granted by God by creating man in his image.