Monitoring fetal heartbeat
© Getty Images / Neil Thomas
The catholic church has condemned a UK court's "sad and distressing" decision to force a woman with mental disabilities to have an abortion at 22-weeks.

The London-based woman in her twenties has the mental capacity of a six to nine-year-old child according to the Catholic News Agency. The woman is under the care of a National Health Service (NHS) trust, which is understood to have launched the case against the woman who reportedly originated from Nigeria.

The woman and her mother both dispute the case and the latter has offered to care for her grandchild, however doctors argued that the birth would be more traumatic for the expectant mother than an abortion.

Justice Nathalie Lieven from the Court of Protection, a legal arm specifically tasked with resolving cases involving people deemed incapable of making their own decisions, handed down the "heartbreaking" ruling on June 21.

"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," Lieven said.

Judge Lieven said the mother would not be in a position to care for bother her daughter and grandchild. Eventually, the "heartbreaking" decision was made in the pregnant woman's "best interests" and "not on society's views of termination," Lieven said.

"I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll," Lieven added.

The decision has been heavily criticised by the Catholic Church and pro-life groups. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children called the ruling "horrific" in a scathing Facebook post. While John Sherrington, a bishop in the Catholic diocese of Westminster case the decision infidged on human rights.

"Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, infringes her human rights, not to mention the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for this child," said Bishop Sherrington to the Catholic Herald Monday.

"In a free society like ours there is a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of the state."