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A 26-year-old woman with Down’s Syndrome has failed to overturn a controversial UK abortion law.
As it stands, a woman in Britain can get an abortion after 24 weeks if the baby is found to have severe foetal abnormalities.
This rule stands all the way up until birth, while abortions of a baby without disabilities have to be carried out before 24 weeks gestation.
In a bid to change this, Heidi Crowter, who has Down’s Syndrome, took the matter to court and described the law as ‘downright discriminatory’.
Speaking before the ruling to Sky News, she said:
I don’t like to have to justify my existence, it makes me feel like I’m not as valuable as anyone else. It makes me feel like I shouldn’t be here.
Maire Lea-Wilson joined Crowter in taking the matter to court. Lea-Wilson is a mother to a boy with Down’s Syndrome and said that she ‘can’t imagine life’ without him.
She said, ‘I have two sons and I absolutely love and value them equally and I really think the law should as well.’
The case has been really hard work, it’s been quite emotional and quite draining at times but I just so strongly believe that Aidan deserves to be treated equally and seen equally and I would hate for him to grow up and become aware of this law and feel hurt by it, so I will keep fighting for him.
However, Crowter and Lea-Wilson’s efforts have been in vain as the court ruled against them.
Speaking of their decision, Lord Justice Singh and Mrs Justice Lieven said, ‘The issues which have given rise to this claim are highly sensitive and sometimes controversial. They generate strong feelings, on all sides of the debate, including sincere differences of view about ethical and religious matters.’
‘This court cannot enter into those controversies; it must decide the case only in accordance with the law,’ they continued.
Crowter has since branded the decision as ‘extremely offensive’ and argued the law ‘doesn’t respect [her] life’.
The 26-year-old added, ‘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.’
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