MP bids to stop abortion till birth for Down’s syndrome babies

A legislative amendment to give unborn babies with Down’s syndrome the same protection from abortion as babies without a disability has been proposed in the House of Commons.

The former GP, cabinet minister and defence secretary, Sir Liam Fox, tabled the amendment to the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill.

It has been signed by 40 MPs.

The general abortion time limit is set at 24 weeks, but for cases in which a baby is thought to have a disability, including Down’s syndrome, abortion is available up to birth. This amendment will equalise the time limit for babies with Down’s syndrome, meaning that it will be set at 24 weeks.

The amendment has cross-party support from MPs among the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP and the DUP.

The most recent full-year abortion statistics, for the year ending 31 December 2021, show there were 859 abortions where a baby had Down’s syndrome in 2021, an increase of 24% from 2020.

The actual numbers are thought to be higher due to underreporting.