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Mother of child with Down's Syndrome can intervene in challenge against new abortion regulations in NI Court says

Back in 2019, Westminster imposed abortion on Northern Ireland with the contrivance of Sinn Féín and the SDLP. Despite the easing of abortion restrictions, abortion access has still been limited in the North. In March this year, Sectary of State, Brandon Lewis, passed the 2021 Abortion Regulations, which will give him the power to force all health bodyies in Northern Ireland to provide full abortion services.

However, the High Court has given the green light to pro-life organisation the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) to challenge these new abortion regulations. Now, this month, Dungiven mother of a girl with Down's Syndrome, Rosaleen McElhinney, has also been granted permission by the High Court to intervene in this case. According to News Letter, the case is to begin in October.

Ms McElhinney and her family are concerned over the abortion regulations, believing that her 15 year old daughter Cara Rose will face discrimination due to her disability, and seek to update the court on the impact the regulations could have on her daughter, as well as others with disabilities.

“Cara Rose is a great asset to her school and gets brilliant school reports,” Rosaleen told the News Letter. “Her smile brightens up the room. She is also very caring - especially if someone is upset. She loves competing in watersports and is just great fun to be around.”

“But my concern is that with these regulations it will become increasingly normal to abort babies who have non-fatal disabilities like Down’s Syndrome,” she continued. “And as this becomes something that is normalised in our schools and media, I believe it will lead to Cara Rose being treated as less than human.”

Speaking on the High Court's decision, Lynn Murry of Don't Screen Us Out, the disability rights campaign group said: “It is actually difficult to express the huge distress caused by a law that not merely affords less protection to unborn babies with Down’s syndrome than to non-disabled children but actually uses Down’s syndrome, or another non-fatal disability, as the very reason why termination is justified.”

“Abortion is based on the idea that some babies don’t deserve to be born,” said Liam Gibson, the political officer of SPUC Northern Ireland, who welcomed the High Courts decision for Ms McElhinney's intervention. “Babies with disability are a primary target of the abortion industry and a government which believes it’s cheaper to abort than support.”

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