A Conservative MP in the UK Parliament will be debating abortion on the grounds of disability today. While this is a foreign concept in Canada, it is good to know that countries around the world can discuss the rights of pre-born children without the sky falling in, or politicians fearing for their positions.
The current debate comes on the heels of a Parliamentary Inquiry launched by MP Fiona Bruce into whether the Abortion Act 1967 unjustly discriminates against disabled babies by permitting abortion up to birth on disability grounds. Currently, the United Kingdom has a gestational law prohibiting abortions past 24 weeks for other reasons.
We read here that,
“The Inquiry concluded that the law on abortion for disability could fall foul of both the 2010 Equality Act and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child “needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”
A report on the findings of the Inquiry revealed that:
- Approximately 90 per cent of unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and Wales are aborted following prenatal testing.
- Around seven terminations for cleft lip, and five for cleft palate, have taken place in England and Wales since 2002.
- Following a disability diagnosis, many parents feel that they are“pushed towards” having an abortion without due consideration of other options, and many who decide to keep their child face discrimination.
The Inquiry recommended Parliament to remove the discriminatory aspects of the Act either by repealing section 1(1)(d), which permits terminations on disability grounds, or as a minimum, reducing the upper limit for disability abortions to make it equal to that of abortion on other grounds.
Let’s hope the UK Parliament will listen to this courageous MP and reviews the eugenic practice of terminating pregnancies on the basis of ability.