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DR UK welcomes debate on abortion and disability

30 January 2017

On Friday the Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill, put forward by Lord Shinkwin, passed its committee stage in the House of Lords along with an amendment put forward by Baroness Massey calling for a review of the impact of the Abortion Act on disabled children, their families and carers.

Link to Lords debate

Briefing on the Bill

Over five years, 2010 – 2015, there was a 56% rise of termination after 24 weeks on the grounds of disability.

In his speech to the Lords Lord Shinkwin said: “I readily admit that maths was never my favourite subject at school – but even I can see from the trends in abortion on grounds of disability that the writing is on the wall for people like me. People with congenital disabilities are facing extinction. If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as an endangered species. But we are only human beings with disabilities so we do not.”

Liz Sayce, CEO DR UK comments: “We are in support of this Bill and congratulate Lord Shinkwin on raising this issue.  The Bill is not about the rights and wrongs of abortion, fundamentally it is about equality. Wherever Parliament sets the number of weeks after which abortion is not permitted, it should be exactly the same whether the pregnancy is likely to result in a disabled or a non-disabled child. All lives are equal’. This debate is timely given that this year is the periodic review of the UK by the Committee on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We urge peers to support the Bill at Report stage.”