Former UK Defence Secretary, Liam Fox MP, has said that the abortion laws in the UK are “far too liberal” and that abortion up to birth for babies with Down’s syndrome is “absolutely horrendous”.
In response to a question in an interview with GB News about whether he still held to his previously stated view on abortion when he called for “huge restriction, if not abolition” of the provision of abortion, the MP for North Somerset said “I think our laws are far too liberal in the United Kingdom”.
He then referenced the recent Heidi Crowter case in which a woman with Down’s syndrome has taken the Government to court over the discriminatory abortion law that permits abortion up to birth in cases where the child is thought to have a disability, which includes disabilities such as Down’s syndrome.
Commenting on that case, Dr Fox said “The fact that you can abort babies with Down’s syndrome right up to 40 weeks, I think is absolutely horrendous. We need to look at whether that’s justifiable in any way, shape or form”.
Time to lower the time limit
He went on to suggest that the abortion laws in the UK should be more like the majority of countries in the European Union, where the median time limit is 12 weeks gestation.
Dr Fox said that one of his particular concerns in this regard was the abortion law on Down’s syndrome. He introduced the ‘Down Syndrome Bill’, which made “provision about meeting the needs of persons with Down syndrome”, earlier this year but did not include mention of abortion in the Bill.
Down’s syndrome abortion
Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, abortion is available de facto on demand up to a 24-week time limit, but if the baby has a disability, including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, abortion is legal right up to birth.
There were 3,370 disability-selective abortions in 2021. The number of late-term abortions at 24 weeks gestation or over where the baby has a disability increased by 20% from 229 to 274.
The statistics showed there were 859 abortions where a baby had Down’s syndrome in 2021, an increase of 24% from 2020. The statistics also show a 71% increase in late-term abortions at 24 weeks gestation or over where the baby had Down’s syndrome, increasing from 14 in 2020 to 24 in 2021.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “It is good to hear a prominent MP speak out against abortion. MPs should not be shy about speaking out against it. Every abortion is a tragedy and allowing abortion up to birth for babies with Down’s syndrome is something civilised society should not permit.”