LONDON (AP) – A woman with Down syndrome lost an appeal against the British government on Thursday over a law allowing abortion until the birth of a fetus with the condition.
Heidi Crowter, 26, and two other people took the Department of Health and Social Care to court, arguing that part of the Abortion Law is discriminatory and violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
Abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. But the law states that layoffs can be allowed up to birth if there is “a substantial risk that, if the child were born, he would suffer physical or mental abnormalities such as to be seriously disabled,” including Down syndrome.
Crowter has said that he found the legislation “offensive” and disrespectful, and that he wanted to change the law to challenge people’s perception of Down syndrome.
Two judges dismissed the case on Thursday after a two-day hearing, concluding that the legislation is not illegal and that it aims to strike a balance between the rights of the fetus and those of women.
Crowter presented the case with Maire Lea-Wilson, 33, who has a son with Down syndrome and an unidentified child with the condition.
He said he plans to appeal the ruling.
“The fight is not over,” Crowter said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, surrounded by supporters.
“We face discrimination every day in schools, in the workplace and in society. Thanks to the verdict, the judges have also upheld discrimination in utero, ”he said.
Paul Conrathe, a lawyer for the firm representing the three plaintiffs, called the ruling disappointing and “out of step with modern attitudes toward disability.”
“By allowing babies with (Down) syndrome to be aborted to birth, unlike neurotypical babies, the law sends a powerful message that the lives of people with (Down) syndrome are of less value.” said.