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Down’s Syndrome: Abortion Case Heads To High Court

May 6, 2021

Campaigners are set to have a review of abortion law relating to Down’s syndrome heard at the High Court.

Heidi Carter, of Coventry, and Máire Lea-Wilson from Brentford, west London, are challenging the government over a clause in the current law which allows abortion for up to birth for a foetus with Down’s syndrome.

Mrs Carter, 25, who has the condition, said the current law is “not fair”.

The case is due to be heard on 6 and 7 July.

Currently, there is a 24-week time limit for abortion, 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” .

Mrs Carter, who campaigns under her given name of Crowter, previously wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying all non-fatal disabilities should be subject to the same standard 24-week limit.

“A baby without Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to 24 weeks, but a baby like me and James can be aborted to birth,” Mrs Carter said. “It’s downright discrimination.”

“People shouldn’t be treated differently because of their disabilities.

“The reason it’s important to me and James is because we’re someone who has Down’s syndrome and we want to show the world we have a good quality of life.”

Mrs Lea-Wilson, 32, said she was placed under pressure to have an abortion when a 34-week scan revealed her son had Down’s syndrome.

“I have two sons that I love and value equally, but the law does not value them equally,” she said.

“My motivation for taking this joint legal action with Heidi has always been simple. As a mother, I will do all that I can to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of my son, Aidan.”

Mrs Lea-Wilson said the case is “not about the rights or wrongs of abortion” but about “removing a specific instance of inequality of the law.”

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