LONDON, March 16, 2005 ( – Two UK physicians charged with performing illegal late-term abortions on children with the minimal deformity of cleft palates were let off Wednesday.

The doctors were charged last May with the offence after Anglican curate, Rev. Joanna Jepson, pursued the matter through the courts after police initially refused to lay charges. Jepson, who suffered a similar jaw deformity at birth, charged that the cleft lip and palate excuse was a frivolous reason for killing children already well past the 24-week cut-off point for legal abortions in Britain.

“Abortion of a baby on the grounds that the child has a cleft palate is lethal discrimination against disabled people, as is any abortion on the grounds of disability,” National Director for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), John Smeaton, said. “We are taking legal advice on this matter. On the face of it, the appropriate legislation under which to take action would be the Human Rights Act, and we are exploring this further.”

“We are alarmed by the reasons given by the [Crown Prosecution Service] but, with the eugenic mentality of medicine in the UK, it is perhaps not surprising that two doctors would determine that the best destiny for a seven-month baby with a cleft palate is to be killed,” said ProLife Alliance spokeswoman Julia Millington to the BBC news. “The police have expressed concern regarding the impact on the life of the mother – we would like to have seen some concern over the lethal impact this abortion has had on the life of the baby.”

See related coverage:

British Abortion Rate Skyrockets as Couples Eliminate “Defective” Children



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