Prime Minister receives huge petition against disability abortion from Heidi Crowter

Heidi Crowter, a 24-year-old woman who has Down’s syndrome, has delivered an open letter to Boris Johnson against an abortion law which makes her feel like she would be “better off dead”.

The petition, which was signed by over 18,000 people from Northern Ireland, urges the Prime Minister and other British MPs to let the people of Northern Ireland decide its own abortions laws.

If the same proportion of the UK population signed a similar petition it would equate to over 600,000 people.

Last year, in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly, politicians in Westminster voted to impose an extreme abortion regime on the province.

Under the new regulations abortion is allowed up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome.

MPs are scheduled to vote on whether to approve the extreme abortion regulations tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s vote follows the last Westminster vote on Northern Ireland’s abortion legislation, almost one year ago, in which 100% of Northern Irish MPs present voted against the proposals.

However, abortion was imposed on Northern Ireland, regardless, because of the greater number of English, Welsh and Scottish MPs, enforcing their different view on the province.

Northern Irish MPs have continued to speak out against the changes and a number of them, including Carla Lockhart, joined Heidi today at Downing Street.

‘Downright discrimination in the womb’

Speaking at Downing Street, today, Heidi said: “I’m asking MPs to respect the vote of Northern Ireland and make sure that it stands and to allow equality in the womb for every baby.

“I want this to happen because I’m someone who has Down’s Syndrome and I feel that the law makes me upset, it makes me feel like I’m better off dead.

“I think it sends a really negative message.”

She added: “I think the law which allows abortion up to birth for non-fatal disabilities such as mine is downright discrimination in the womb.”

‘Both lives matter’

Carla Lockhart MP who launched the petition with Baroness O’Loan said:

“Today at Westminster, along with colleagues and Heidi Crowter, we have delivered a petition to the Government saying no to the extreme abortion regulations that are being forced on the people of Northern Ireland.

“Along with over 18,000 people from Northern Ireland who signed the petition, we want to send a clear message to the Government that the people of Northern Ireland do not want Westminster imposing these extreme abortion laws on them.

“Instead, we join with Heidi Crowter in saying ‘no’ to discriminatory disability-selective abortion.

“We join Heidi in saying both lives matter.

“It is not the right of this Government to implement such far-reaching abortion laws on Northern Ireland that will see abortion up to birth for disability.

“So, as the vote takes place I am urging Westminster MPs to allow the devolved region to legislate in regards to abortion.”

Jasvinder Sanghera: The new Northern Ireland rules that set a dangerous precedent on sex-selective abortion for the whole UK

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE is the founder of Karma Nirvana, a charity that supports both men and women affected by honour based abuse and forced marriages.

I am extremely concerned that the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No 2) Regulations open the door wide to sex selective abortions in Northern Ireland. They permit abortion to 12 weeks gestation for any reason without a qualification on the basis of sex.

I gave evidence to the Isle of Man as it sought to modernised their abortion law in 2018, proposing abortion on request to 14 weeks. It inserted a section into its own legislation which makes clear that abortion on the basis of sex (unless linked to a sex related genetic disorder) is not legal. I highlighted how this was a serious human rights issue, having had the experience of supporting hundreds of affected women in the UK.

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Disability discrimination is now official Government policy

Ihave been a proud member of the Conservative Party for over 30 years. As someone with a disability, I was delighted when the Conservatives introduced the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995. I welcomed William Hague’s empowering vision, as the then Minister for Disabled People, and his recognition that equality of opportunity matters as much to disabled people as it does, for example, to women and members of the BAME and LGBT communities. 

That was 25 years ago. There is, of course, more to be done, but the progress towards equality for all three of those ‘protected characteristics’, as defined by the Equality Act 2010, has been exciting and, in the case of gender and sexuality, revolutionary. That fills me with hope.

In contrast, the Government’s policy on disability discrimination fills me with dismay. Tom Harwood typically crystallises the issue: ‘Conservatives should highlight the wrongs of slicing and dicing society into identity groups…’ To do so is to deny the reality of intersectionality, that a human being can be, for example, a disabled, black lesbian, thereby combining a number of protected characteristics. By law, their right to equality of opportunity and treatment should be neither diminished nor enhanced by virtue of any one of them.

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