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18-year-old with Down’s syndrome campaigns to end discriminatory abortion law

A teenage activist with Down’s syndrome from Berkshire is campaigning to change the abortion law in the UK after learning that a baby can be aborted up to birth if diagnosed with a disability.

Millie Prelogar, 18, was “shocked” and “offended” when she discovered that, whilst abortion is legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy in most cases, abortion for disability is permitted up to birth in the UK. This includes conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft palate or club foot.

She said “Do you think I’d be better off if I had never been born?” and added “Having Down’s Syndrome is no big deal. We can do anything we set our minds to with just a little extra help and support”.

She said this to the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, when she met him after his appointment on 24 October.

Millie is now campaigning for the Abortion Act to be amended, saying “At first I was shocked and then I felt offended that the current abortion law discriminates against people like me, this reinforces negative stereotypes and questions the value and dignity of my life. I want the appeal judges to get rid of section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act so foetuses with disabilities are treated the same as all other foetuses”.

With the assistance of the charity, Positive About Down Syndrome, which launched the ‘You-Can’t-Put-Me-Down Syndrome’ campaign, Millie wants these laws to be more widely known. Millie says that many people have the misconception “that people with Down’s Syndrome can’t live happy, productive and fulfilled lives”, but through her campaign, she wants to show that this isn’t true.

Abortion law discriminates against people with disabilities, court hears 

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal heard a landmark case against the UK Government over its discriminatory abortion laws after a judge granted permission for the case to be heard.

Heidi Crowter, 27, from Coventry, who herself has Down’s syndrome, challenged the Government over a disability clause in its abortion legislation, together with Máire Lea-Wilson from Brentford, west London, who was placed under pressure to have an abortion when a 34-week scan revealed her son Aidan, now three, had Down’s syndrome.

The outcome of the Court of Appeal hearing is not yet known.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “The discrimination against people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities is on clear display in our abortion laws. The law unambiguously says that their lives do not matter as much as others. Hopefully, Millie and Heidi’s work will highlight this glaring injustice and help change the law”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.