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Scottish mother pressured to have an abortion by doctors gives birth to healthy boy

A Scottish mother who was persistently pressured by doctors to have an abortion has given birth to her healthy son.

The mother, Lauren Webster, from North Lanarkshire, was told at a 13-week ultrasound scan that her unborn son had a ‘bladder obstruction’ and it was thought he could have Edwards syndrome – a serious genetic condition which means the child is unlikely to survive for very long outside of the womb. (Although in rare cases, people with Edwards syndrome have been known to survive to adulthood.)

The doctors monitored the development of Lauren’s baby closely and “[e]very week” the doctors asked “[her] if [she] wanted to terminate.”

Lauren told the doctors to stop asking her if she wanted an abortion, insisting that she wanted to keep her baby. The doctors however continued to ask especially after they became concerned about the possibility of the child developing Edwards syndrome.

Despite the unrelenting pressure from her doctors, the mother Lauren refused to give in, saying she had “a gut feeling” her baby would survive.

Doctors were “gobsmacked” when baby Ollie was born via caesarean section with no major health problems at all.

His bladder obstruction had resolved itself, and Edwards’ syndrome was ruled out at a scan.

Lauren said she wouldn’t want others in a similiar situation to be pressured into abortion.

“Everything they told me turned out not to have happened.”

This is not the first instance of mothers being pressured to have abortions when there is concern that the baby could be born with a disability. Last month, Natalie Halson was asked if she wanted an abortion ten times after her daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb. Nathalie resisted and her daughter had corrective spinal surgery after birth and is now flourishing.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said: “This case shows the immense pressure that mums are put under to abort their babies if they are diagnosed with a disability in the womb. It is now ‘routine procedure’ to be offered an abortion, but more so, it is expected that you would want an abortion.”

“Rather than being offered real treatment for her baby, this mother was asked time and time again if she would like to abort her child. It is a sad indictment of our healthcare system that rather than caring for both lives in a pregnancy and supporting a mother who wants to keep her baby, it is labelled as ‘routine procedure’ to pressure her to have an abortion. Secondly, the underlying attitude towards people with disabilities that this practice displays, is deeply discriminatory and unfair to both mother and unborn baby. ”

(Photo credit Adobe Stock:MoiraM)

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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