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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NI man David Smyth, born with a cleft lip and palate, urges support for campaign to close abortion law loophole

A Co Down man who was born with a cleft lip and palate is urging people to back a national campaign to close a loophole in the law that allows babies with the same birth defect to be aborted.

Lawyer and charity boss David Smyth (37), a father-of-three who lives near Hillsborough, says it is unthinkable that babies are being aborted due to having a cleft lip or palate.

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What Covid-19 has revealed about euthanasia

There has not been, in living memory, more focus on healthcare, the vital role of doctors, the sacrifices made by nurses, and the wonderful efforts of everyone involved in the sector. Amid the coronavirus crisis, daily heroism, the scale of human loss, and the awful scenes in hospitals underline what is important – and what is not.

It will surprise some that in the Netherlands, the only dedicated clinic providing euthanasia and assisted suicide has closed. Euthanasia Expertise Centre (formerly known as End of Life Clinic) has suspended all euthanasia procedures. The clinic’s website says that existing procedures have been put on hold and new patients are no longer admitted. The centre – which in 2019 alone ended the lives of 898 patients suffering from cancers, psychiatric problems, early on-set dementia, and accumulated age-related complaints – is willing to make an exception only for those expected to die soon and those who may soon lose their capacity for decision-making.

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