Heidi Crowter, the noted Down’s syndrome campaigner, has lost a legal battle in which she sought to change UK law that allows babies with Down’s syndrome to be aborted up until birth. In the UK, abortions are allowed up until 24 weeks but if the baby is found to have a fetal anomaly than abortion can be carried out up until birth. Heidi challenged the law on grounds that the law is a clear inequality for those with disability. On Sunday, Court of Appeal shot down her case, saying, “it is a question which is for Parliament, and not the Courts, to decide”.
Commenting on the ruling, Heidi said:
“I am very upset that babies with Down’s Syndrome can be aborted up to birth. This tells me that I am not valued and of much less value than a person without Down’s Syndrome… I am angry that the judges say that my feelings don’t matter. That makes me feel that I am not as valuable as a person without Down’s Syndrome.”
“I am very upset not to win again, but I will keep on fighting because we have already informed and changed hearts and minds and changed people’s opinions about the law.”
Alithea Williams, SPUC Public Policy Manager, said:
“Although they lost their challenge today, Heidi and her team have illustrated the discrimination inherent in allowing babies to be aborted up to birth because they are considered ‘handicapped’ under an outdated and callous law.
“They have drawn attention to something that our ‘civilised’ society likes to ignore – that babies can be legally killed, without anaesthetic, up to the very moment of birth, because they have Down’s syndrome or another disability.
“We hope that this case will open society’s eyes to the discrimination inherent in all abortion – that a human being can be killed because they are ‘unwanted’ or inconvenient, or the wrong gender, or simply too young and vulnerable to protect themselves.”