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People Are Calling For A Major Change In The UK's Abortion Laws

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People Are Calling For A Major Change In The UK's Abortion Laws

Two women are taking the government to court over a 'deeply offensive' abortion law which allows pregnancies to be terminated at a late stage.

Campaigner Heidi Crowter, 25, who has Down's Syndrome, has teamed up with Máire Lea-Wilson to campaign to challenge the current abortion law in the high court this week.

Campaigner Heidi Crowter, 25, who has Down's Syndrome, has teamed up with Máire Lea-Wilson (Credit: PA)
Campaigner Heidi Crowter, 25, who has Down's Syndrome, has teamed up with Máire Lea-Wilson (Credit: PA)

The current law permits terminations after 24 weeks if 'severe foetal abnormality' is found or if there is a life-threatening risk to the mother.

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Campaigners say the current law discriminates against those with Down's Syndrome, adding that the 24-week limit should apply to every baby.

Heidi and Máire have raised over £100,000 to challenge the law. Speaking to The Sunday Times Heidi - whose husband James also has Down's Syndrome said: "I will not tolerate it. That someone like me or James could be aborted just before birth is just not on."

Heidi and Máire have raised over £100,000 to challenge the law (Credit: Twitter)
Heidi and Máire have raised over £100,000 to challenge the law (Credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile Máire - whose son Aidan has Down's Syndrome - said that when she was told her baby had the condition, a termination was the first option that was discussed.

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"I was completely shocked and so was my husband. When I said I wanted to carry on with the pregnancy, that decision was written into my hospital notes, yet I was asked several times more over the next few days whether I wanted to continue.

"The last time I was asked whether I wanted to terminate the pregnancy was at 36 weeks by an obstetrician, just a few days before Aidan was born."

On the campaign website, Heidi explains: "Hi! I am Heidi, I am 24. I live a very happy, fun and fulfilled life.

"At the moment in the UK, babies can be aborted right up to birth if they are considered to be 'seriously handicapped'. They include me in that definition of being seriously handicapped - just because I have an extra chromosome! Can you believe that?"

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The case will go to the high court this week (Credit: Heidi Crowter)
The case will go to the high court this week (Credit: Heidi Crowter)

Last year, research revealed the number of British babies born with Down's Syndrome halved following the introduction of non-invasive pre-natal screening.

The controversial blood test, also referred to as NIPS, uses DNA technology to seek out and identify any potential "genetic abnormalities" in foetuses.

Since NIPS were introduced in the UK in 2012, a study has now shown that the number of newborns born with Down's Syndrome has fallen by 54 per cent. The numbers are in line with the average reduction rate across Europe, though numbers can vary significantly.

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Down's Syndrome is caused by an extra pair of chromosomes. While most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes, people with Down's have a copy of chromosome 21.

The additional pair results in characteristic physical features, and varying degrees of learning difficulties. Those with Down's Syndrome may also suffer from medical complications including problems with the heart, gut, hearing or thyroid.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Pregnancy, Life News, Health

Lucy Devine
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