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Scottish mothers join growing support for legal challenge to UK’s discriminatory abortion law

Mothers of children born with Down’s syndrome have spoken out in horror over the UK’s discriminatory law, which singles out babies with the condition and allows abortion up to birth.

Currently abortion is available up to birth in England, Wales and Scotland, if the baby has a disability – including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot. This is compared to a 24 week time limit for babies without a disability. 

Thousands of people are now supporting Heidi Crowter, a young woman with Down’s syndrome, as she launches a legal challenge against the UK Government to prevent them from singling out disabled babies for abortion.

Stacey Corrigan, mother to six-year-old Daniel who has Down’s syndrome, told the Daily Record she is “horrified” at the current abortion law.

She said: “How can that be legal? It’s like murder…

“There are premature babies who are born at 25 weeks and survive and grow to be healthy and happy, yet if your baby has Down’s syndrome it’s ok to terminate immediately before giving birth. It is just wrong.”

Stacey and her fiancé Colin Murray say Daniel is the best thing to ever happen to them and are supporting Heidi Crowter’s legal challenge.

Stacey added: “Daniel is an amazing wee boy. He goes to school, loves all the same things every other kid loves, he’s happy and funny. To think that someone could be in a position where they have carried a child like Daniel and are offered the chance to terminate so far on is just horrifying.”

Brenda Cook, whose 12-year-old daughter Brooke Cormack-Cook has the condition, says the law is archaic and needs to change immediately.

She said: “I think it’s quite shocking. There are some disabilities which aren’t visible or don’t get diagnosed until the child is older, so where do you draw the line? It’s something you would expect from the fifties or sixties. It’s out of date and it needs to be changed.

“Brooke is a wonderful wee girl. She loves life and is the centre of my world. I find it totally offensive as the mother of a child with Down’s syndrome that this is still legal. It’s disgusting and cruel to suggest that our children are not good enough for this earth.”

Máire Brady, mother to nine-month-old Aidan who has Down’s syndrome, says the “the law is not fit for purpose; worse than that, it is discriminatory, inflammatory and barbaric.”

In a blog post addressed to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, she adds: “By not addressing this issue [the discriminatory abortion law] properly, you are saying my beautiful baby boy, Aidan, is worth less than his brother. That he is not as valuable. By shutting down debate under the guise of women’s choices, you are taking away the voice of people like my son, and you are disenfranchising them.

“Giving him equal rights to his brother is not eroding women’s choices, it’s just giving him equal rights. He is Aidan and he is equally worthy. For these reasons, I’m with Heidi.”

Heidi’s legal challenge has generated widespread support from those with first-hand experience of Down’s syndrome, pro-life campaigners, disability advocates and more.

Over 3,500,000 people have watched Heidi tell Channel 5 the current law is “deeply offensive” and many more have seen her tell the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that the current law makes her feel “unloved and unwanted”.

Heidi’s campaign has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media with people adding #ImWithHeidi to their posts.

In less than a week, over £20,000 has been raised to help towards the cost of her legal fees.

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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