Stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland
In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.
A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.
It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.
Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.
This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales.
This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.
The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.
The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show recently reported that a mother expecting a child with Down’s syndrome was offered an abortion at 38 weeks’ gestation, and another mother shared her story of being offered an abortion fifteen times after her son was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.
A recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that at least 710 late-term abortions (between 20 weeks and birth) for Down’s syndrome have taken place in England and Wales over 10 years (2009-2018).
Sign this petition now to make it clear to the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland that their parties should vote in support of the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill.
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Petition to: Party leaders - Northern Ireland Assembly