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Discriminatory Abortion Act needs urgent change

06 July 2021

Disability Rights UK strongly supports the important legal case being taken by Maire Brady, her son Aidan and Heidi Carter (nee Crowter) against the discriminatory provisions of the Abortion Act.

The Act sets a time limit for abortions of 24 weeks and then says that this can be overridden if there is a severe disability. This provision is completely unacceptable and denies the value of the lives of Disabled people. The rules on abortion should apply equally to all.

Not only is the law discriminatory and in contravention of the UN CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) but Maire speaks powerfully about how she was urged by doctors to have a termination after the 24 week limit, once it was discovered that her child would have Downs Syndrome.

Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK said: “The law is discriminatory and being interpreted in discriminatory ways. This important legal case is challenging a fundamental discrimination, the lack of value placed on our lives as Disabled people.

“We saw how this failure to value our lives played out during the COVID pandemic, with Disabled people  being de-prioritised, our experiences denied and our voices dismissed.

"DR UK would ask the Government to bring forward changes to the Abortion Act as a matter of urgency.”