Sign the petition to stop discriminatory disability abortion up to birth

Rishi

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Currently, abortion for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot is available right up to birth. This contrasts with the time limit set out under section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act, which outlines the grounds under which the vast majority of abortions where a baby does not have a disability are performed, which is set at 24 weeks.

A recent court case was brought against the Government for allowing disability discrimination in abortion by Heidi Crowter, 26, who has Down’s syndrome and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son has Down’s syndrome. Ms Crowter has consistently described how the current law “makes me feel that my life is not as valuable as anyone else’s”, whilst Ms Lea-Wilson was “placed under intense pressure” to have an abortion after a 34-week scan revealed her son had Down’s syndrome.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has recommended the UK update its law on abortion, specifically suggesting they amend abortion legislation to clarify abortion should not be singling out babies with disabilities. 

The 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability found the “vast majority of those who gave written evidence believed allowing abortion up to birth on the grounds of disability is discriminatory, contrary to the spirit of the Equality Act and does affect wider public attitudes towards discrimination”. 

Current abortion legislation is out of date and is a throwback to a time when we had different attitudes to the societal inclusion and contribution of people with disabilities. 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.

Please sign this petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to urgently repeal section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act in order to stop allowing discriminatory abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

If you, or someone you know, has a compelling personal story that fits, please provide full details through this easy-to-use tool below. We will then review the stories that have been submitted and select those to be sent.

Sources are available here.

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