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Down Syndrome Campaigner Loses Appeal To Save Unborn With Disabilities

by | Tue, Nov 29 2022

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A British woman with Down syndrome has lost her appeal to stop the killing of babies diagnosed with her condition while in the womb.

27-year-old Heidi Crowter argued the disability clause in UK abortion laws was discriminatory and stigmatised people with disabilities.

In England, Wales and Scotland, there is a 24-week time limit on having an abortion, but the law allows terminations up until birth if there is a substantial risk that the child would have Down syndrome or other conditions like a cleft lip or palate or a club foot.

Three senior judges at the UK Court of Appeal ruled the law was not discriminatory to people with Down syndrome.

They said abortion laws were for parliament to decide, not the courts.

Ms. Crowter said she was angry that the judges said her feelings don’t matter.

“It makes me feel that I shouldn’t be here. That I should be extinct. I know that’s not true, but that’s how it makes me feel,”

The judges agreed with her by saying: “The court recognises that many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities will be upset and offended by the fact that a diagnosis of serious disability during pregnancy is treated by the law as a justification for termination, and that they may regard it as implying that their own lives are of lesser value.”

Following the judgement Ms. Crowter said: “We face discrimination every day in schools, in the workplace and thanks to this verdict the judges have upheld discrimination in the womb which is downright discrimination.”

She vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court saying she won’t stop until she’s seen as equal in society.

“When William Wilberforce wanted to abolish the slave trade he didn’t give up when things didn’t go his way. I won’t give up either because the law should be changed to get rid of a negative focus on Down syndrome – even the words used in it are offensive.”

“This law was made in 1967 when we were not even allowed to go to school because of our extra chromosome, so I think it’s time that the judges move with the times and actually meet people with Down syndrome and see the people behind the chromosome.”

Research conducted by Positive about Down Syndrome showed that upon receiving news from the NHS (National Health Service)  that their baby had Down syndrome, 69% of pregnant women were immediately offered an abortion.

If they said no, NHS officials would ask them again and again.

The BBC reports one woman was asked 15 times.

Lynn Murray from the organisation Don’t Screen Us Out which has been supporting Heidi Crowter, told Premier Christian News: “We are absolutely devastated about this ruling because it’s so illogical.”

“This encapsulates the message that their lives are not of equal value, of dignity. It’s just wrong in a progressive society, this is the wrong message to be sending out.”

Last year the UK had 859 abortions where a baby had Down syndrome — an increase of 24% on 2020.

Statistics also show a 71% increase in late-term abortions at 24 weeks gestation or over where the baby had Down syndrome.