Heidi Crowter wants to know why the British government considers her life to be less valuable than others simply because she has Down syndrome.
The 24-year-old from Coventry, England and other individuals and families with Down syndrome are urging the country to end the discriminatory abortion law that allows unborn babies with disabilities to be aborted up to birth, the Daily Mail reports.
The 1967 Abortion Act permits abortions for any reason up to 24 weeks in England and up to birth for unborn babies with disabilities. Even minor, correctable deformities such as a cleft lip fit into the disability category.
“In the UK, babies can be aborted right up to birth if they are considered to be ‘seriously handicapped,’” Crowter said. “They include me in that definition – just because I have an extra chromosome! What it says to me is that my life just isn’t as valuable as others.”
She and Cheryl Bilsborrow, the mother of a 2-year-old with Down syndrome, are leading a campaign to change the law. They recently wrote to British Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging lawmakers to ban late-term abortions on unborn babies with non-fatal disabilities, the report states.
Working with the disability rights group Don’t Screen Us Out, they hope to raise £20,000 to take legal action against the government over the discriminatory law, the report continues.
Crowter said the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recently recommended that the United Kingdom change its abortion laws to prevent discrimination.
“Sadly, the Government decided to ignore their recommendations and didn’t change the law,” she said. “So now, I am going to take the Government to court with other members of the Down syndrome community to make sure that people aren’t treated differently because of their disabilities.”
About 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in England are aborted, according to the country’s health statistics. New data shows the number of late-term abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome has doubled in the past 10 years, the pro-life organization SPUC reported earlier this month.
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Lynn Murray, spokesperson for Don’t Screen Us Out, said it’s time to end this government-sanctioned inequality.
“We live in a society which proclaims that we want to empower those with disabilities, and that regardless of your background, you deserve a fair and equal chance at life. We believe that our laws must reflect this narrative,” Murray said.
Her disability rights organization also is pushing for medical reform to better educate and support families of children diagnosed with disabilities.
Parents frequent say they felt pressured to abort their unborn babies after a Down syndrome diagnosis. Australian mom Toni Mitchell said the doctors scheduled an abortion appointment for her unborn son without even asking, while Rachel Prescott, of Oregon, said six different doctors suggested abortion after their twin daughters showed signs of Down syndrome in the womb.
Pro-life and disability rights advocates have been speaking out strongly against disability discrimination before birth. Some American states have passed laws to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities from abortion, but the abortion industry is challenging them in court.
A 2017 CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory abortion trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS. Some put the rate as high as 90 percent in the U.S., but good statistics are not available.