Catholic Bishop Condemns Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 29, 2022   |   11:05AM   |   London, England

The Catholic Church in the Uk has condemned the recent ruling by the UK Court of Appeals against a lawsuit from a woman with Down syndrome seeking to stop abortions on babies who have it.

As LifeNews reported:

Heidi Crowter, the noted Down’s syndrome campaigner, has lost her legal challenge today after the Court of Appeal ruled that babies with Down’s syndrome can be aborted up until birth. SPUC has slammed the ruling as “callous”.

Heidi Crowter, 27, is seeking a change to the UK abortion law that currently allows babies with Down’s syndrome to be aborted up until birth. In the UK, abortion can be carried out until 24 weeks and then until birth if the unborn baby is suspected of having a fetal anomaly (disability).

But Heidi has challenged the law on the grounds that it is a clear “instance of inequality” regarding people with conditions like her own and is accordingly incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

After losing a legal challenge at the High Court in September last year, Heidi took her case to the Court of Appeal, which today, 25 November, concluded that “it is a question which is for Parliament, and not the Courts, to decide”.

In a new statement issued today responding to the verdict, Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Lead Bishop for Life Issues, told CNA that the verdict was upsetting:

He said: “I am deeply saddened that Heidi Crowter’s campaign to recognize the child with a disability in the womb as an equal has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

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“The law which protects her after birth did not protect her in the womb- indeed, a disabled person, such as Heidi, can be aborted up to the moment of birth based on their disability alone. This is illogical and unjust. Whilst the judgment claims that section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 does not have ‘any significant role in causing discriminatory attitudes against disabled people generally, or those with Down’s in particular, the year-on-year increase in disability- selective abortions tells a very different story.”

“I echo the words of Pope Francis, who strongly discouraged the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes as ‘it is an expression of an inhuman eugenic mentality, which deprives families of the possibility of welcoming, embracing and loving their weakest children.’ We must continue to advocate for greater support for families caring for a child with disability.”

The bishop concluded: ”I offer my prayerful support as Heidi considers seeking permission for the case to be heard at the UK Supreme Court.”

Commenting on the ruling, Heidi said: “I am very upset that babies with Down’s Syndrome can be aborted up to birth. This tells me that I am not valued and of much less value than a person without Down’s Syndrome… I am angry that the judges say that my feelings don’t matter. That makes me feel that I am not as valuable as a person without Down’s Syndrome.”

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Heidi nevertheless vowed to take her case to the Supreme Court: “I am very upset not to win again, but I will keep on fighting because we have already informed and changed hearts and minds and changed people’s opinions about the law.”

Alithea Williams, SPUC Public Policy Manager, said: “Although they lost their challenge today, Heidi and her team have illustrated the discrimination inherent in allowing babies to be aborted up to birth because they are considered ‘handicapped’ under an outdated and callous law.

“They have drawn attention to something that our ‘civilized society likes to ignore – that babies can be legally killed, without anesthetic, up to the very moment of birth, because they have Down’s syndrome or another disability.

“We hope that this case will open society’s eyes to the discrimination inherent in all abortion – that a human being can be killed because they are ‘unwanted’ or inconvenient, or the wrong gender, or simply too young and vulnerable to protect themselves.”