Last week, a woman with Down syndrome lost a lawsuit against the British government over a law that allows abortions until the end of pregnancy for fetuses who may suffer from serious physical or mental disabilities.
Heidi Crowter, 26, and two other people took the Department of Health and Welfare to court, arguing that part of the British Abortion Act is discriminatory and violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
Abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are allowed until the 24th week of pregnancy, but the law states that abortion may be allowed until birth if there is “a substantial risk that the child will suffer from physical or mental abnormalities a point of being severely deficient,” writes the The Guardian.
Crowter, who lives independently and was recently married, said he considered the “offensive” and disrespectful legislation and said he wanted to change the law to challenge people’s perceptions of Down syndrome.
Two judges dismissed him this Thursday, after a two-day hearing, concluding that the legislation is not illegal and that it seeks to strike a balance between the rights of the unborn child and women.
The judges Rabinder Singh e Nathalie Lieven said the case gave rise to strong feelings and different ethical and religious views, but the court should not enter into such controversies and should rule only in accordance with the law.
The evidence before the court convincingly shows that there will be some families who positively want to have a child, even though they know he will be born with severe disabilities,” they said.
Crowter brought the case of Mayor Lea-Wilson, 33, goes public, who has a son with Down syndrome.
The 26-year-old woman said she plans to appeal the decision. “The fight is not over”said Crowter outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, surrounded by supporters.
We face discrimination every day in schools, in the workplace and in society. Thanks to the verdict, judges also supported discrimination in the womb.”, he said.
Paul Conrathe, a lawyer for the firm representing the applicants, found the sentence disappointing and “out of step with modern attitudes towards disability.”