Down syndrome advocates to appeal abortion ruling

Heidi Crowter speaks outside the High Court in July (CNS/Hannah McKay, Reuters)

Two women who challenged the British Government over a law that allows abortion up to birth for disabled babies have vowed to take their case to appeal after it was dismissed by the United Kingdom’s High Court. Source: The Tablet.

Heidi Crowter, 26, who has Down syndrome, and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose two-year-old son Aidan also has the condition, objected to a clause in the 1967 Abortion Act that extended the right to abortion beyond the 24-week upper limit when foetuses have disabilities.

They claimed the law breached the European Convention on Human Rights because it discriminated against disabled children, and they sought to have the clause removed from the act.

They made their case in a two-day hearing in July and learned yesterday that their attempt had failed when the High Court ruled that the clause was not unlawful.

Afterward, Ms Crowter said she would seek permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

“I am really upset not to win, but the fight is not over,” she said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. “The judges might not think it discriminates against me, the Government might not think it discriminates against me, but I am telling you that I do feel discriminated against, and the verdict doesn’t change how I and thousands in the Down syndrome community feel.”

She said: “We face discrimination every day in schools, in the workplace and in society. And now, thanks to this verdict, the judges have upheld discrimination in the womb, too. This is a very sad day, but I will keep fighting.”

The High Court stated that “there was no precedent from the European Court of Human Rights that a foetus has rights under the ECHR”.


Down syndrome advocates to appeal abortion ruling (by Sebastian Milbank, CNS via The Tablet)


Woman with Down’s syndrome loses UK abortion law case (The Guardian

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