Disability campaigners back amendment to UK abortion law

Disability campaigners in the UK are urging MPs to support a cross-party amendment to the Government’s Health and Care Bill to introduce an equal time limit for disability-selective abortions.

Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, there is a general 24-week time limit for abortion, but if the baby has a disability, including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, abortion is legal right up to birth.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has consistently criticised countries that provide for abortion on the basis of disability.

Its concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland made a key recommendation that the UK change its abortion law so that it does not single out babies with disabilities. The Government, however, decided to ignore the recommendation.

Heidi Crowter, from Coventry, who has Down’s syndrome commented that the law says that babies shouldn’t be aborted up to birth, but if a baby is found to have Down’s syndrome, it can be aborted up until birth. This is the current law in the UK and I think it’s not fair”.

“I am asking MPs to please support this amendment. People shouldn’t be treated differently because of their disabilities, it’s downright discrimination,” she said