(Don’t Screen Us Out) Heidi Crowter, a 24-year-old woman from Coventry who has Down’s syndrome, has joined forces with Cheryl Bilsborrow from Preston, whose two year-old son Hector has Down’s syndrome, and have launched a landmark case against the UK Government over the current discriminatory abortion law which allows abortion up to birth for Down’s syndrome.
Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, there is a general 24-week time limit for abortion, but if the baby has a disability, including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, abortion is legal right up to birth.
There were 3,269 disability-selective abortions in 2018 and 618 of these were for Down’s syndrome. This represents a 42% increase in abortion for Down’s syndrome in the last ten years with figures rising from 436 in 2008. The figures are likely to be much higher – a 2013 review showed 886 foetuses were aborted for Down’s syndrome in England and Wales in 2010 but only 482 were reported in Department of Health records. The underreporting was confirmed by a 2014 Department of Health review.