The circumstance is uncomfortable even to contemplate but necessary to face. In Britain, a judge has ordered the forced abortion of an unborn child who will be denied its own life not because of any abnormality but because the judge finds the mother to be incompetent.

The court ordered the abortion of the mentally disabled woman against both her and her mother’s wishes. The judge calls the decision “heartbreaking” but in the best interests of the woman, who is 22 weeks pregnant.

Press reports say the woman, who lives in London, is in her 20s and has the mental capacity of a 6- to 9-year-old child.

The decision was revealed by the Press Association and other British news media, including The Catholic News Agency. According to a New York Times report, “the woman and her family were not identified, and neither her family nor her lawyers could be reached for comment. But a spokesman for the court confirmed public details of the case by email on Sunday, including the court proceeding and the judge’s comments.”

Justice Nathalie Lieven ruled in something nicely called the “Court of Protection,” which hears cases on issues relating to people who are considered to lack the mental capability to make decisions for themselves.

This brings to mind the equally contemptible thinking of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who once ruled for forced sterilizations. “Three generations of imbeciles,” the learned justice wrote, “are enough.”

Even as science has progressed to the point where a baby’s birth defects can be corrected in utero, many in our brave new world watch and shrug as governments disregard and discard innocent life.