Hugo Hammond will become the first ever contestant with a disability to appear on the ITV reality program ‘Love Island’ when he enters the contest on 28 June. Under current UK law, abortions can be performed right up to birth for babies diagnosed as having the same disability as Hugo.
Hugo, a PE teacher from Hampshire, has previously played cricket for England’s national physical disability team.
The 24-year-old was born with the condition known as ‘clubfoot’, and said he had “lots of operations when I was a kid”.
He explained: “You can only really tell when I walk barefoot. I’ve got a really short Achilles heel. I walk slightly on my tiptoes”.
“I’ve actually played cricket for England PD (Physical Disability). I’ve been to Bangladesh, Dubai, I’ve been everywhere to play cricket”.
Hugo has never let the condition hold him back and has enjoyed a successful sporting career.
Speaking of his job, he said: “I absolutely love my job. I love all my sports. It’s great to be able to pass on that enthusiasm to be physically active to the younger generation and hopefully, they feel the same about me teaching them”.
He said: “I’ve been single for a while now. With the current climate, it’s been really hard to get back into dating. I saw it as an opportunity to have an amazing fun summer and put myself back out there”.
Abortion legal up to birth for disabilities including club foot
According to the NHS, club foot (also called talipes) is a condition where one or both feet point(s) down and inwards with the sole of the foot facing backwards.
Currently, abortion is available up to birth in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland if the baby is diagnosed with disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip, or club foot.
Official abortion statistics for England and Wales show that abortions are happening on the grounds that a baby has one of these conditions. Due to underreporting, these figures are likely to be significantly higher than what is being reported.
Seventy-five babies with either a cleft lip or cleft palate as their principal condition were aborted between 2011 and 2018. Sadly, the figures are likely to be much higher; for example a 2013 review by Eurocat showed 157 babies were aborted for cleft lip and palate in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010 while the Department of Health and Social Care recorded only 14 such abortions.
There is no shortage of testimonials from individuals who have been diagnosed with cleft lip, cleft palate or club foot and were not held back, including Steven Gerrard, Joaquin Phoenix, Kristi Yamaguchi and Carmit Bachar.
Polling from Savanta ComRes shows that only one in three people think it is acceptable to ban abortion for gender or race but allow it for disability. The support for allowing disability-selective abortion for conditions such as club foot, cleft lip and cleft palate is likely even lower.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “That Hugo is happy and healthy with an illustrious sporting career behind him is a testament to how far we have come in our ability to help children with club foot. However, Hugo’s story reinforces the horror of abortion up to birth for disabilities in the UK. The current law essentially tells people with disabilities that they are valued less than people without disabilities”.
“There is simply no place for such abhorrent legal discrimination in 21st Century Britain. We hope the High Court will rule in favour of equality and justice, when it hears Heidi Crowter and Máire Lea-Wilson’s landmark case against the UK Government over the current discriminatory abortion law on 6 July”.