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UK High Court to review law allowing abortion of babies with Down syndrome until birth

The hearing will take place from July 6 until July 7.
Wed May 5, 2021 - 2:46 pm EST
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LONDON, May 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — This summer, the U.K.’s High Court will hear a challenge to a law permitting the abortion of babies with Down syndrome until birth.

Down syndrome activist Heidi Crowter, 25, and Máire Lea-Wilson, 32, the mother of two boys, one with Down syndrome, filed a challenge to the Abortion Act 1967 last year, arguing that its provisions discriminate against disabled people. The application was granted in October, and the hearing will take place from July 6 until July 7.

Currently the British Abortion Act 1967 sets a 24-week limit on the age at which an unborn baby can be killed, unless “there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it [sic] would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.” In this case, the child can be killed until he or she is literally moving down the birth canal.

Crowter, married last July to James Carter, who also has Down syndrome, has been using her own life to illustrate that a life with Down syndrome is worth living. She is also using her “Living the Dream” social media project to fight for the right of children with the condition to live their own.

“Basically, the court case is that a baby without Down syndrome can be aborted up to 24 weeks, but a baby like me and James can be aborted up to birth, which is discrimination” Crowter told the BBC this week.

“And the reason it’s important to both me and James is because we are [both] someone with Down syndrome, and we want to say to the world that we have a good quality of life.”

On her Facebook page, Crowter remarked that she was the first person with Down syndrome to take the British government to court to challenge them on “their perspective of people with Down’s syndrome.”

Lea-Wilson’s son Aidan, who is now 23-months-old, was not diagnosed with Down syndrome until the 34th week of gestation; his mother was offered an abortion three times before he was born, two weeks later.

“I have two sons that I love and value equally, but the law does not value them equally,” Lea-Wilson told the BBC. “My motivation for taking this joint legal action with Heidi has always been simple. As a mother, I will do all that I can to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of my son, Aidan.”

Other women in Britain have reported feeling pressured by medical professionals to agree to abortions after their children have been diagnosed with Down syndrome or other disabilities.

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Crowter’s mother Liz told the U.K.’s Channel 5 News that sometimes doctors tell mothers of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome that they have already booked them in for an abortion. She recommends that any parents whose child is diagnosed with Down syndrome do research to learn the realities about the condition, including reaching out to other parents.

According to the U.K.’s Right to Life association, there were 3,183 “disability-selective abortions” in England and Wales in 2019, and 656 of these infants had Down syndrome.

Heidi Crowter expressed deep satisfaction on her fundraising page about the court date.

“I feel so excited to get a court case date because I feel like there is finally a chance to fully achieve Down’s syndrome equality in this land and for our voices to be heard,” she wrote. “Thank you so much for your support so far; we are really, really grateful. We hope you are as excited as we are that we finally have a date. Would you please consider helping us to cross the finish line to the £100,000?”

To help Crowter in her campaign for the lives of disabled babies, please click HERE.


  abortion, abortion act 1967, down syndrome, heidi crowter, máire lea-wilson, uk high court

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