The fight of a 24-year-old woman with Down’s syndrome against the UK’s discriminatory abortion law continues to receive international attention, and was this week featured in Australian media.
Heidi Crowter has launched a landmark case against the UK Government over current legislation that singles out babies with disabilities, allowing abortion right through to birth for conditions including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.
Heidi was speaking out against the UK Government’s decision to impose the same discriminatory abortion laws on Northern Ireland, something it was not required to do when it voted to impose an extreme abortion regime on the province last year.
The new regime, which also allows de facto abortion for any reason up to 24-weeks, came into force on 31 March.
In response to the Government’s actions, Heidi Crowter has written to politicians in Northern Ireland saying:
“Boris Johnson’s Government did not have to introduce abortion for babies with Down’s syndrome up to birth to Northern Ireland. They chose to do this.
“That’s both hurtful and offensive. My life has as much value as anyone else’s.
“I am asking all MLA’s (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to reject Westminster’s regulations – please don’t vote for more discrimination against people like me.
“Do not make the mistake which was made in Great Britain in allowing discrimination against people like me just because we happen to have Down’s syndrome.
“Please let Northern Ireland continue to be a country where disabled people are valued.
“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.”
Drawing attention to Hedi’s case, Sky News host Chris Kenny said: “A touching, brave and salient reminder about people living with disabilities has arisen during the current debate about abortion in Northern Ireland.”
He then proceeded to share a channel 5 interview of Heidi, which received over 4 million views, describing it as a “touching and powerful” address.
“Whatever you think of the abortion issue, I wanted to show you that,” he added.
Heidi’s legal challenge has generated widespread support from those with first-hand experience of Down’s syndrome, pro-life campaigners, disability advocates and more.
She has been joined in her legal fight against disability discrimination by Máire, mother to Aidan who has Down’s syndrome.
Máire said: “I have two incredible sons, and value them equally, so I was shocked to discover that the law doesn’t.”
Her campaign has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media with people adding #ImWithHeidi to their posts.