Action alert – Ask your MP to support the Abortion (Cleft lip, cleft palate and club foot) Bill

Stand up and smile campaign

You may have seen this morning in a number of media outlets that a cross-party group of MPs from the three largest parties in the UK Parliament have come together to launch the Abortion (Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Clubfoot) Bill.

The Bill will change the law to clarify that cleft palate, cleft lip, and clubfoot are not grounds for abortion in the UK.

This morning we have launched the Stand Up and Smile campaign to support this Bill and raise awareness about the wider issue of abortion being allowed up to birth for babies with disabilities.

Please click the button below to visit the campaign page and ask your MP to support the Abortion (Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Clubfoot) Bill. It only takes 30 seconds.

Once you have emailed your MP, please do let friends and family know to email their MP.

If you receive a reply from your MP confirming whether they will support the Bill or not, it would be very helpful, if you are comfortable with sharing it with us, to send on the reply to us. This will help us with knowing which MPs support the Bill.

Thank you for your help on this.

Winning hearts and minds around the world: Heidi Crowter featured in Australian media

The fight of a 24-year-old woman with Down’s syndrome against the UK’s discriminatory abortion law continues to receive international attention, and was this week featured in Australian media.

Heidi Crowter has launched a landmark case against the UK Government over current legislation that singles out babies with disabilities, allowing abortion right through to birth for conditions including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

Last week, she urged the Northern Ireland Assembly to reject the same “hurtful and offensive” laws in Northern Ireland.

Heidi was speaking out against the UK Government’s decision to impose the same discriminatory abortion laws on Northern Ireland, something it was not required to do when it voted to impose an extreme abortion regime on the province last year.

The new regime, which also allows de facto abortion for any reason up to 24-weeks, came into force on 31 March.

In response to the Government’s actions, Heidi Crowter has written to politicians in Northern Ireland saying:

“Boris Johnson’s Government did not have to introduce abortion for babies with Down’s syndrome up to birth to Northern Ireland. They chose to do this.

“That’s both hurtful and offensive. My life has as much value as anyone else’s.

“I am asking all MLA’s (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to reject Westminster’s regulations – please don’t vote for more discrimination against people like me.

“Do not make the mistake which was made in Great Britain in allowing discrimination against people like me just because we happen to have Down’s syndrome.

“Please let Northern Ireland continue to be a country where disabled people are valued.

“Please do not let a law come into practice which will end lives on the basis of disability and stop people like me coming into the world.”

Drawing attention to Hedi’s case, Sky News host Chris Kenny said: “A touching, brave and salient reminder about people living with disabilities has arisen during the current debate about abortion in Northern Ireland.”

He then proceeded to share a channel 5 interview of Heidi, which received over 4 million views, describing it as a “touching and powerful” address.

“Whatever you think of the abortion issue, I wanted to show you that,” he added.

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.

She has been joined in her legal fight against disability discrimination by Máire, mother to Aidan who has Down’s syndrome.

Máire said: “I have two incredible sons, and value them equally, so I was shocked to discover that the law doesn’t.”

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

Brazil’s highest court rejects attempt to legalise disability abortion

Brazil’s highest court has rejected an attempt to legalise abortions on unborn babies who may have disabilities.

Currently, unborn babies in Brazil are protected from abortion in most circumstances. Previous supreme court ruling have declared that abortion is “non-punishable crime” in cases of rape, where there’s a proven risk to life of the mother and, as of 2012, babies diagnosed with anencephaly.

A legal challenge, brought by the National Association of Public Defenders, had sought to introduce terminations for expectant mothers diagnosed with the Zika virus through the court.

However, a majority of judges at Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal voted last month to reject the challenge.

In 2016, the outbreak of the Zika virus raised concerns across the world because of a potential link to a condition in newborn babies.

At the time, Brazil and several other countries across South America reported an increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a condition which results in a baby’s head being smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.

The National Association of Public Defenders (ANADEP) saw an opportunity to permit abortions for women who had been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

According to Catholic News Agency, pro-life campaigners in Brazil expressed concerns that the group were hoping to chip away at the country’s long-established legal protections for unborn children.

Additionally, Raphael Câmara, an obstetrician at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, noted that “recent studies show that foetuses of infected mothers are affected only 5 to 14% of the time, with the majority having mild problems, as shown by research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

He also revealed that “a study recently released by the CDC showed that 73% of Brazilian labs have a low accuracy rate for diagnosing the Zika virus, so the request is meaningless because we cannot talk about someone ‘infected with Zika’, but rather ‘maybe infected by Zika.’”

Ahead of the Supreme Court ruling, pro-life groups in Brazil had spoken out against efforts to expand abortion in the country.

A CitizenGo petition against the legal challenge gathered over 184,000 supporters.

A poll conducted by the Datafolha Institute, in 2016, found 58% of Brazilians would not allow abortion in cases where pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus.

Brazilians also rejected abortions in cases where the unborn baby is diagnosed with microcephaly, with 51 percent opposed and 39 percent in favour, according to the poll.

Down’s syndrome campaigner urges NI politicians to reject ‘discriminatory’ abortion laws

A campaigner with Down’s syndrome has urged Stormont to reject “hurtful and offensive” laws allowing abortion up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome, in Northern Ireland.

Last year, in the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly, politicians in Westminster voted to impose an extreme abortion regime on the province.

The Government was not required to introduce abortion for cleft lip, or other disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, to Northern Ireland.

Yet, to the dismay of disability advocacy groups, those with disabilities and their families, the Conservative Government have now introduced disability-selective abortion right up to birth.

The new regime, which also allows de facto abortion for any reason up to 24-weeks, came into force as law on 31 March.

An influential House of Lords Committee has released report which is highly critical of the new regulations.

Now, ahead of a parliamentary vote on the abortion regulations next week, Heidi Crowter has written to political party leaders in Northern Ireland requesting they reject any regulations from Westminster that allow discriminatory disability-selective abortions right up to birth.

In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph, the 24-year-old woman with Down’s syndrome said: “Boris Johnson’s Government did not have to introduce abortion for babies with Down’s syndrome up to birth to Northern Ireland. They chose to do this.

“That’s both hurtful and offensive. My life has as much value as anyone else’s.

“I am asking all MLA’s (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to reject Westminster’s regulations – please don’t vote for more discrimination against people like me.”

She added: “Do not make the mistake which was made in Great Britain in allowing discrimination against people like me just because we happen to have Down’s syndrome.

“Please let Northern Ireland continue to be a country where disabled people are valued.

“Please do not let a law come into practice which will end lives on the basis of disability and stop people like me coming into the world.”

Earlier this year, Heidi launched a landmark case against the UK Government over the discriminatory abortion law that allows disability-selective abortion right up to birth in England, Wales & Scotland.

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 4,200,000 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”.

Her campaign has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media with people adding #ImWithHeidi to their posts.The mothers of children born with a cleft lip have also spoken out in horror against the new regime.