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UK High court set to hear case against abortion on disability grounds

Disability activist and campaigner, Heidi Crowter, 25, is challenging the UK government on their current abortion law on disability grounds, and is set to be heard by the High Court.

Currently, the UK allows for abortions up until 24 weeks, but allows for abortion in the case of a disability – which includes Down's syndrome, a clef foot or a clef palette – up till birth. Ms Crowter, who has Down's syndrome, calls the law discriminatory.

According to the Evangelical Times, a hearing is scheduled for 6 July. Ms Crowter is joined in her case with Máire Lea-Wilson, who has a 23 month old son with Down's syndrome, and has raised over £80,000 for the case. Should the court rule in their favour, this would be a landmark ruling.

Official data from the Department of Health, reveals that 3 183 abortions occurred in England and Wales on disability grounds in 2019, with 656 occurring after the unborn baby was diagnosed with Down's syndrome.

Ms Crowter said ‘The law says that babies shouldn’t be aborted up to birth, but if a baby is found to have Down’s syndrome, it can be aborted up until birth. This is the current law in the UK and I think it’s not fair.

‘The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recently said the UK should change its abortion law to make sure people like me aren’t singled out because of our disabilities but the government hasn’t changed the law.’

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