Woman with Down’s Syndrome loses fight to repeal “hugely offensive” abortion law

A campaign launched in 2020 by a woman with Down’s syndrome against a nearly six-decade-old abortion law ended Thursday.

Heidi Crowter, with Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son Aidan has Down’s syndrome and a child with Down’s syndrome identified only as A, sued Sajid Javid, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs, in court over abortion regulations.

According to The Guardian, they contested the Abortion The 1967 law, which states that abortions in England, Wales and Scotland can be performed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless “the mother’s life is in danger or the child is born. with a severe handicap ”.

On Thursday, the Crowter case was dismissed and it was determined by two senior judges that the legislation was not illegal and stated that a “very difficult balance must be struck by Parliament between the interests of the fetus and the rights of women”.

Before appearing in court in July, Crowter said: “I find it extremely offensive that a law does not respect my life, and I will not stand it,” The Guardian reported.

Crowter said Sky News last October, the law gave her the impression that she was better off dead.

Crowter was introduced to the news with her younger sister, Suzie, to discuss the case.

This week, Heidi Crowter lost her fight to change an abortion law in the UK which she deems “deeply offensive”. Here, pro-choice activists hold posters outside Parliament during a protest urging the government to extend the same abortion laws across the UK, including Northern Ireland, on June 5, 2018 in London, England.
Jack Taylor / Getty Images

Suzie said the prosecution’s hope is to make the law equal, so that all pregnancies, regardless of their diagnosis, are held to the same standard.

During the interview, Heidi said she understands that some people feel pressured to abort after finding out their baby will have Down syndrome and is even pondering her own mother’s reaction to her diagnosis.

She said that when she was born, her mother was upset and worried that Heidi would never marry.

Heidi got married in July 2020.

In the United States, about one in 700 babies are born with Down syndrome – about 6,000 each year, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

According to Mayo Clinic, Down syndrome can be detected in a fetus from 10 weeks by chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and later, around 15 weeks by amniocentesis.

Across the United States, some states have attempted to pass bills that would ban abortion altogether if the only reason was a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. Just this week, the conversation escalated in Missouri about. of a bill that was passed and then blocked in 2019, according to Fox 2 Now.

The law would place restrictions on abortions after eight weeks and based on a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. On Tuesday, 11 members of a federal appeals court heard the case, Fox 2 Now reported.

Tamara Pursley, Director of Programs and Partnerships at the National Down Syndrome Congress, said News week that even if they don’t take a pro-life or pro-choice stance because at the end of the day they are “pro-syndrome”.

“Hats off to her for her advocacy,” Pursley said of Crowter’s case. “But it saddens me a bit personally and I think as an organization that there is still the archaic belief that Down syndrome is a severe disability or a profound disability.”

Pursley says the bills that have been proposed across the country risk hampering an open and honest conversation between doctor and patient.

“If the doctor is facing charges for performing an abortion, he may not be providing all the information he can,” Pursley said. “So we think that’s really the most important thing. Getting accurate and up-to-date information into people’s hands so they can make an informed decision.”

She said that while the life expectancy of people with Down’s Syndrome was 25 years in the 1980s, it is now over 60 years.

“There are opportunities out there, you know, more and more every day for people to be fully included in the community,” Pursley said. “As they should.”

News week contacted NARAL, Pro Life Across America and the National Down Syndrome Society, but they did not respond in time for the post.


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