U.K. Woman Challenging Abortion Up Until Birth for Down’s Syndrome Babies Loses High Court Case


A U.K. woman has lost a court challenge against a law allowing abortion up until birth for babies with certain disabilities, including Down’s syndrome, which she was born with.

26-year-old Heidi Crowter brought forward the challenge in July, arguing that the law discriminated against babies with Down’s syndrome and devalued lives like her own.

The case was previously dismissed by two judges, the BBC reports, before she appealed to the High Court.

Lord Justice Singh and Mrs. Justice Lieven ruled that the section of the Abortion Act allowing babies with certain disabilities to be aborted up until birth was not discriminatory and that it not a matter for the courts to change, but Parliament, which could ” take account of different interests and viewpoints, rather than in litigation.”

In England, Wales, and Scotland, abortion is allowed only up to 24-weeks, unless “there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.” This includes Down’s syndrome.

Crowter’s case was brought forward along with two unnamed children with Down’s syndrome as well as the mother of a child born with the condition.

The mother, Máire Lea-Wilson, had two sons and said that to allow abortion up until birth for babies with the syndrome “effectively says that my two sons are not viewed as equals in the eyes of the law.”

“Equality should be for everyone regardless of the number of chromosomes they have,” she said.

Speaking over the summer, Crowter said that she wanted to challenge perceptions of those born like herself, so they people see “just a normal person.”

“We face discrimination every day in schools, in the work place and in society. And now thanks to this verdict the judges have upheld discrimination in the womb too,” she said in reaction to the ruling.

“The judges might not think [the law] discriminates against me, the government might not think it discriminates against me, but I am telling you I feel discriminated against.”

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