By Hilary White

LONDON, August 15, 2008 ( – The leader of Britain’s Tory opposition party has stated that he supports eugenic abortion for disabled infants up to the time of birth. In the build-up to party conference season in the autumn, David Cameron was asked if he would be willing to change the law, amended in 1990, that allows disabled children to be aborted at any time of gestation up to the point of birth.

“If in power would you favour measures to reverse this discrimination by giving unborn children who are disabled the same protection under the law as currently enjoyed by all other children?”

“A short answer first then a longer one,” Cameron said. “My personal view about that is no.”

Cameron, who most analysts predict will be the next Prime Minister of Britain, is holding “Cameron Direct” question and answer sessions with voters. He responded at length at a session in Barrow-in-Furness on Wednesday, saying that MPs should have free votes on “conscience issues” and that he supported the reduction in the gestational age limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 20. But he said he could not tell parents they could not abort a severely disabled child.

In cases where parents have been told by physicians they “may have a very disabled child, I would not want to change that,” he said. Referring to his own six year-old son, Ivan, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic, Cameron said, “he’s a sweet boy, he’s a lovely boy, Ivan,” but, Cameron said, he would not want to “put myself in the position” of telling parents they cannot abort such a child.

“Personally Ivan, he’s brought incredible things to my life but it is an enormous challenge and I don’t think it’s right to sort of tell other parents if you hear that you’ve got a very disabled child on the way, that actually doing something about it isn’t an option. That’s my view.”

The 1967 Abortion Act was amended in 1990 to allow abortion at any time up to the point of birth for any child deemed to be at risk of suffering a “severe” abnormality. This change was made when some had campaigned successfully to reduce the gestational age limit, previously set at 28 weeks, to 24. Since then it has been shown that doctors are approving abortions for easily correctable problems such as cleft palates and that eugenic abortion has few limits. Britain has one of the highest abortion rates in the western world.

Abortion continues to be a hot political topic in Britain, with statistics showing that the abortion rate is rising and a group of MPs attempting to press through amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill that would force the 1967 Abortion Act on Northern Ireland. This, despite the fact that all the leaders of the major parties of the province, as well as a clear majority of the Northern Irish public, have rejected the change.

John Smeaton, the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, has called for Christians to fast and pray to stop the extension of the Act into Northern Ireland.

To contact David Cameron to express concerns via email:
[email protected]

To contact the Conservative Party:

Conservative Campaign Headquarters
30 Millbank
+44 (0) 20 7222 9000