fbpx
Select Page

take action

Select where you live:
Learn more about the campaign

If you live in Northern Ireland:

Ask your MLAs to vote to stop
abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot

Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot

Only postcodes from Northern Ireland are accepted

Go

Act now to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot - Equally Human

Your constituency is:
close
  • Enter your details

  • Message that will be sent to your MLAs

Yours sincerely,
see full letter & edit

Keep up to date with Right To Life UK via email. Make sure you click ‘yes’ so we can keep you up to date about this and other campaigns. You can unsubscribe at any time. You can read our privacy policy here.

By submitting this form, I agree to you forwarding the above message, my name, address and email address to your MLAs. I understand my data may be retained for monitoring purposes. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Sending...
  • Thank you

Your message has been sent to your MLAs

Can you spare a minute to help us get the word out further? Please use the buttons below to share the campaign.

If you live outside Northern Ireland:

Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill.

If you live outside Northern Ireland:

Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill.

All Equal Horizontal

The campaign to stop
abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

Mother and daughter2 scaled
Stormont

THE BILL

The Severe Fetal Impairment
Abortion (Amendment) Bill

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill will remove the current grounds in the Northern Ireland abortion regulations that were imposed on Northern Ireland that allow abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’. 

Under these grounds in the regulations, babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

 

Strong opposition from disability advocates to 2020 law change being introduced

The extreme abortion regime imposed on Northern Ireland by the British Government in March 2020 includes a provision that effectively legalised abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

Ahead of the regime coming into effect, 2,000 people with Down’s syndrome and their families signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him not to introduce abortion up to birth for Down’s syndrome to Northern Ireland.

An additional 18,000 people from Northern Ireland urged the Prime Minister and other British MPs to let the people of Northern Ireland decide their own abortion laws.

24-year-old disability campaigner, Heidi Crowter, joined the Down’s syndrome community in speaking out against the proposal of the British Government to impose abortion up to birth on Northern Ireland in cases of disabilities like Heidi’s own, Down’s syndrome.

Heidi wrote to the Party Leaders at Stormont, asking them to take the lead and do everything they could to oppose abortion on the basis of disability up until birth. She said: “Please do not let a law come into practice which will end lives on the basis of disability and stop people like me coming into the world.” Heidi described the extreme legislation as “hurtful and offensive”, and urged Stormont to reject it as “My life has as much value as anyone else’s… please don’t vote for more discrimination against people like me”.

George McCullagh, a man believed to be Northern Ireland’s oldest person with Down’s syndrome also threw his support behind Heidi’s calls.

Northern Ireland Assembly voted to oppose 2020 law change

Following Heidi’s call for Stormont to do everything they could to oppose abortion on the basis of disability up until birth, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion opposing the extreme regulations that have been imposed on the province by the UK Government.

Across the two votes held, 75 out of 90 MLAs voted against the provisions in the regulations allowing abortion for non-fatal disabilities.

Sadly, the UK Government ignored the vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly and went ahead with imposing a new regime that effectively introduced abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

How the new regulations allow abortion for disabilities including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome up to birth

Under the new Northern Irish abortion regime (Regulation 7, paragraph (1)(b)) abortion for disabilities is available through to birth on the grounds that “if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled.”

In England and Wales, legal wording that has appeared similarly restrictive (“that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”) has in practice legalised abortion for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

When the British Government announced the new abortion regulations for Northern Ireland, they made it clear that their aim was to have abortion available up to birth for disabilities under the same grounds that provide abortion up to birth for disabilities in England: “This decision has also been made on the basis that it mirrors provision of services in England, Scotland and Wales, where abortion for SFI and FFA is available without time limit”. (page 22)

UN Committee condemns disability discrimination before birth

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has consistently criticised countries that provide abortion in a way which distinguishes between fetuses on the basis of disability, citing Article 5 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (equality and non-discrimination provision).

The UNCRPD has recommended that the UK updates its law on abortion to reflect adherence to the spirit of this convention, specifically suggesting they amend abortion legislation to clarify that abortion should not be legal for disability reasons.

A parliamentary inquiry into abortion for disability called for a law change to end disability discrimination before birth

The 2013 parliamentary inquiry into abortion for disability found the vast majority of those who gave evidence believed allowing abortion up to birth on the grounds of disability is:

  • Discriminatory, 
  • Contrary to the spirit of the Equality Act, and 
  • Affects wider public attitudes towards discrimination.

The inquiry recommended Parliament reviews the question of allowing abortion on the grounds of disability, and should consider repealing section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act which allows for it.

Ask your MLAs to vote to stop
abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland

Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland

or keep reading to see why the law imposed by Westminster needs to change

Northern Ireland’s unique approach truly values

people with disabilities as equally human

Northern Ireland vs the rest of the UK

Northern Ireland
vs the rest of the UK

NORTHERN IRELAND

Chip in 3 1

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not permitted and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales.

This is a society that truly values people with disabilities as equally human, rather than one who claims to have moved on from outdated attitudes towards disabilities but at the same time routinely singles out babies with these disabilities for abortion.

This significant difference was highlighted in two speeches by disabled peer Lord Shinkwin in the House of Lords when he was speaking against the proposed changes, one of which is featured below.

This is a society which allows people with disabilities the most fundamental of human rights, the right to live.

Chip in 3 1

Vs

REST OF THE UK

The rest of the UK

In England, Wales and Scotland, we have a society that claims to value people with disabilities as equally human, but in reality the rest of UK is a society which systematically singles out babies with disabilities in the womb for abortion.

People with disabilities have been unjustly and disproportionately targeted by abortion legislation since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967 with the inclusion of section 1(1)(d) to allow babies with disabilities to be singled out for abortion.

In England, Wales and Scotland, we have a society that claims to value people with disabilities as equally human, but in reality the rest of UK is a society which systematically singles out babies with disabilities in the womb for abortion.

People with disabilities have been unjustly and disproportionately targeted by abortion legislation since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967 with the inclusion of section 1(1)(d) to allow babies with disabilities to be singled out for abortion.

The rest of the UK

ABORTION
UP TO BIRTH
FOR DISABILITIES

Abortion is legal right through to term for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

90%

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

3,183

In 2019 alone, 3,183 babies with disabilities were aborted in England and Wales.

710+
LATE TERM
ABORTIONS
FOR
DOWN’S
SYNDROME

A recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that 710 late-term abortions (between 20 weeks and birth) for Down’s syndrome have taken place in England and Wales over 10 years (2009-2018).

75

75 babies with either cleft lip or cleft palate as their principal condition were aborted between 2011 and 2018 in England and Wales.

205

While the Department of Health and Social Care are reluctant to release data on abortions where a baby has club foot, data reported by Eurocat showed that 205 babies with club foot were aborted in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010.

38

The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show recently reported that a mother expecting a child with Down’s syndrome was offered an abortion at 38 weeks’ gestation.

‘In all honesty we were offered 15 terminations’

A mother has recently shared her story of being offered an abortion fifteen times after her son was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.

Due to
underreporting,
figures are likely significantly
higher

A 2013 review showed 886 babies were aborted in England and Wales in 2010, just because they had Down’s syndrome. Yet only 482 such abortions were reported in Department of Health records. Similarly, 157 babies with cleft lip and palate were aborted in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010, however the Department of Health & Social Care recorded only 14 such abortions. Such underreporting was confirmed in a 2014 Department of Health review.

we are

talented
creative
loving
capable
kind
generous
Valued

Equally human Northern Ireland

Show your support for
the campaign

twitter 2 instagram 2 facebook 3

LEND US YOUR PROFILE PIC

Change your facebook profile picture to include our custom frame and share our campaign images on social media

Equally human share frame 2 1

Ask your MLAs to vote to stop
abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in
Northern Ireland

Equally human Northern Ireland