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Woman With Down's Syndrome Is Fighting 'Demeaning' Abortion Law

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Woman With Down's Syndrome Is Fighting 'Demeaning' Abortion Law

Campaigners are hoping to change a 'demeaning' law in the UK that permits abortions until birth for babies who have Down's syndrome.

Heidi Crowter is one of three claimants who launched the legal challenge against the UK government at the High Court this week.

She argues that the current law for aborting a baby without a disability is capped at 24 weeks, however parents have the option to terminate the pregnancy far later 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'.

That clause includes babies with Down's syndrome.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"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," she said, according to the BBC.

"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'."

The 26-year-old from Coventry argues the law is perpetuating blatant discrimination and it shows how the law values certain people based on their abilities.

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Jason Coppal QC, who is representing the claimants as their barrister, told the High Court the legal wording 'stereotypes and demeans' and they believe 'it is morally and ethically wrong to destroy a life on the grounds of a disability'.

"But what we will try and establish is that it is legally wrong," he said in Court.

"Two of the claimants are in the minority of foetuses who were diagnosed with the condition and not aborted and they live happy and fulfilling lives, as evidence shows the majority of people with Down's syndrome do.

Heidi said she isn't trying to campaign against the notion of pro-choice, but she is merely trying to make the law equal.

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Another claimant joining Heidi in her fight is Máire Lea-Wilson from West London.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

She explained how there needs to be a change in the way we view babies with different handicaps.

Ms Lea-Wilson said: "I have two sons who I love and I value equally and I can't understand why the law doesn't."

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"I was 34 weeks pregnant when I discovered Aidan had Down's syndrome and I was asked if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy in the context of a lot of medically-biased information, and my own grief, three times.

"The last time I was asked to terminate the pregnancy was two days before he was born.

"I just want them to get the right information, and just meet someone who has [the condition]."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Down's Syndrome, abortion, Health

Stewart Perrie
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