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Ecuador rejects abortion law which targets unborn babies with disabilities

Ecuador’s National Assembly has rejected an extreme bill which would have legalised abortion in cases where an unborn baby has a disability, such as cleft palate or lip.

On Tuesday, the proposal which discriminates against unborn babies with disabilities fell five votes short of the 70 required for its approval, with 59 assembly members voting against the bill and six refraining.

Had it been approved, the votes would have modified 45 articles of the nation’s penal code and created six provisions to allow abortion in cases where the baby is disabled and in cases where he or she was conceived through rape. 

Ecuador’s current abortion laws have been in place since 1938 and allows abortion under exceptional circumstances, such as there is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman and after the rape of a woman with a mental disability.

According to official data, the current law protects over 500 unborn babies per year from abortion because they were prenatally diagnosed as having a disability.

There were scenes of anger on the streets of Quito, as dozens of abortion activists clashed with police outside the assembly’s building after lawmakers voted in favour of protecting life.

The last time the country debated changing the abortion law in 2013, the assembly voted against it.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said:

“Ecuadorian lawmakers continue to recognise that life is precious. The reality is that every successful abortion means that a human life has been ended. By voting to protect life, the Ecuadorian Assembly has saved thousands of unborn babies, and potentially more, from having their lives prematurely ended each year.”

“Disabled babies should not be discriminated against through abortion as they are in Britain, where abortion is permitted up to birth if an unborn baby has a disability. Politicians in Ecuador are right to recognise that disabled babies’ lives are just as important and valuable as everybody else’s.”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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