UK Woman Defies Ex-Boyfriend, Ends Pregnancy

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:09 PM EDT

London ( - A British woman whose former boyfriend went to court last week in a bid to prevent her from aborting their child, has done so.

Stephen Hone, 24, who applied for a High Court injunction in London to prevent Claire Hansell from having the abortion, expressed sorrow Monday, and said he would now return to court to seek permission to bury the baby's body.

Hone, who has two children from a previous relationship, said last week he would give up his job as a salesman to look after the baby full-time, but that had failed to persuade Hansell, 31, to change her mind.

His lawyers argued that the mother had failed to meet the provisions of the country's abortion laws, in that she had not consulted two doctors before approaching a clinic.

The court then obtained the clinic's agreement not to carry out the abortion before the requirement has been met, and then to give Hone seven days' notice of any intention to discard of the child's remains, to give him the opportunity to apply for permission to bury them.

In the event, Hone learned late Sunday night that Hansell has had the abortion - at a different clinic.

He said Monday, following what he said was a night of being kept awake by vivid images of how the baby was killed, that he had to return to court later today to fight to be given the baby's body.

The clinic that carried out the abortion was one that provides "fetal tissue" for medical research, he said.

"I don't want to have to sit there and have to bear the thought that my child is being used as a laboratory rat.

"The knowledge that my child's been murdered - I can't let it get to me, because if I do I won't be able to fight this battle."

If the clinic has already disposed of the remains, Hone said, he still plans to hold a burial service. "It'll be burying an empty coffin, but it won't be - it'll be a coffin filled with love."


Hansell's lawyer, Sara Leslie, said in a statement Monday she considered Hone's application for the abortion clinic to hand over "an 11-week old fetus" to be "macabre."

"I can only conclude that the circumstances of this case are being exploited by the anti-abortion lobby to generate media interest in their own agenda for the forthcoming election campaign," she added.

In fact, abortion is not a major election issue in the UK. Individual Conservative Party lawmakers, including party leader William Hague and health spokesman Liam Fox, have pro-life views, but the subject does not feature on election manifestos, and is considered a private matter for party members.

The Prolife Alliance, a political party that has supported Hone in this case, fielded 55 candidates in the last general election, but has no lawmakers in parliament.

Leslie said Hone had no legal right to be consulted about Hansell's plan to have an abortion.

"Surely Mr. Hone and his anti-abortion advisers cannot be realistically suggesting that he has the right to dictate to Ms. Hansell after such a brief relationship."

According to BPAS, "the UK's largest independent abortion provider," several previous attempts by British men to have planned abortions stopped have failed. Fathers and unborn children have no legal rights to prevent abortions.

In an exclusive interview with a tabloid newspaper, published Monday, Hansell justified her decision on the grounds the relationship with Hone had been a casual, two-month affair.

"I already have my [four-year-old] daughter and I'm very happy with my life. If Stephen and I had been together even six months or a year it might have been different. But from my point of view our relationship was just a fling," she told the Mirror.

She claimed Hone had attempted to use the pregnancy as a tool to "blackmail" her into continuing their relationship.

Hone said Monday he felt deeply sorry for Claire.

"At the end of the day she has to come to the realization she has denied her mom and dad the right of a grandchild. She's denied her daughter the right of a sister or brother. She's denied my two kids the right to a sister or brother. And she's denied our child the right to life.

"I don't know that I could cope with that. She might not realize it today, but someday she's going to face that."

See Earlier Story:
UK Man Goes To Court To Try Prevent Abortion (21 March 2001)

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow