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25,000 people call for end to abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome in NI

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition calling on political leaders in Northern Ireland to vote for a Bill which would prevent babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot from being aborted up until birth.

The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill will be voted on by Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) on Monday. 

The Bill seeks to amend the current Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No.2) Regulations 2020, which permit abortion up until birth based solely on the diagnosis of a disability including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip, cleft palate or club foot.

Strong support from the disability community

In February this year, Paul Givan MLA introduced the Severe Fetal Impairment (Abortion) Bill. Since then it has received a huge level of support with 1,608 people with Down’s syndrome and their families signing an open letter to the Assembly urging them to vote in favour of the bill.

On Thursday 11th March, disability rights campaigner, Heidi Crowter, has told the Health Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly that the abortion legislation in the region “tells me and other people with Down’s syndrome that we are worth less than those without disabilities”.

Crowter told the Committee: “The law in Great Britain, and now sadly the law in Northern Ireland, tells me and other people with Down’s syndrome that we are worth less than those without disabilities. That is why I want my voice to be heard and the laws to be fairer”.

“My husband also has Down’s Syndrome and I value him and I think society should too. The law makes me feel very sad it is saying that I, and people like me, may as well have not been born”.

Paul Givan MLA said: “This Bill provides the Assembly with the opportunity to amend the current regulation and to send a clear message to people like Heidi, with a condition like Down’s Syndrome, their families, friends and wider society, that Northern Ireland will not tolerate disability discrimination and they are equally valued”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The very large number of signatures on the petition demonstrates that there is widespread support for this important law change. 

“The discrimination against people with disabilities in the womb is disgraceful. That this would be written into law is even worse. It is no wonder that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have consistently criticised countries which provide abortion in a way that distinguishes between fetuses on the basis of disability, and has specifically suggested they amend abortion legislation to clarify that abortion should not be legal for disability reasons”

“Abortion is permitted up to the 24th week of gestation for babies without disabilities, but it is permitted up to birth for babies with disabilities. This double standard unambiguously reveals a deep prejudice against people with disabilities. Testimonies from families who have a child with Down’s syndrome also suggest that fear, based largely on a lack of understanding about the condition, is a significant driving force behind such legislation”.

“As the lives of people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities illustrate, living with such a condition is no barrier to living a full life”.

Ask your local representatives to take the Both Lives Pledge

Dear reader, 

Last year, abortion campaigners brought forward an amendment to the UK Government’s flagship Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would have introduced abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth (including sex-selective abortion).

Thanks to the support from people like you, this amendment did not go to a vote and pass, but we expect the abortion lobby to make another attempt to introduce this extreme abortion law change shortly.

This would be the single biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would leave England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world.

Please sign the petition to Boris Johnson, asking him to ensure that his Government does everything in its power to stop the introduction of abortion up to birth.

Q

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    Q

    Be the first to know…

    When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

    Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

    Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

    Where should we send your updates?

      By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

      Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

      Ask your local representatives to take the Both Lives Pledge