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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Down’s Syndrome protester launch court fight over abortion law

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Down's Syndrome protester launch court fight over abortion law

Heidi Crowter, 26, is bringing legal action over a ruling that allows the abortion of babies with the condition up until birth. She is fighting the Department of Health and Social Care in the hope of removing a section of the Abortion Act she believes to be an “instance of inequality”. Ms Crowter, from Coventry, said: “I am someone who has Down’s syndrome and I find it extremely offensive that a law doesn’t respect my life, and I won’t stand for it. “I want to change the law and I want to challenge people’s perception of Down’s syndrome. I want them to look at me and say, ‘This is just a normal person.’

“That’s what this is about. It’s about telling people that we’re just humans with feelings.”

In England, Wales and Scotland there is a 24-week time limit on having an abortion.

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But terminations can be allowed up until birth if there is “a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental ­abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”, which includes Down’s syndrome.

At a two-day High Court hearing that began yesterday, lawyers on behalf of Ms Crowter argued the law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore unlawfully discriminatory.

A demonstration was held ­outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London ahead of the landmark case, during which ­dozens of people held banners, some of which read: “Love doesn’t count chromosomes.” 

Maire Lea-Wilson, 33, whose son Aidan has Down’s syndrome, is also bringing the case. She said: “I was 34 weeks pregnant when I discovered Aidan had Down’s syndrome, and I was asked if ­ I wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

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“I want Aidan to grow up knowing he’s not someone people have to cope with. He’s not a burden to society, he is a wonderful human being in his own right.

“I want the law to change ­ so that the rules for a typical baby apply for those with Down’s syndrome.”

The Government said the case should be dismissed on the grounds there is no evidence of a connection between the law and discrimination against those with Down’s syndrome, and that it does not constitute “negative stereotyping”.

A spokesman said: “The Government is deeply committed to eliminating disability discrimination. There is a broad range of measures in domestic law which are aimed at disability discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity.”

It is expected the court will give its ruling at a later date.

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Author: Hanna Geissler
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Health
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Down's Syndrome protester launch court fight over abortion law
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