Abortion laws in the United Kingdom restrict abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy. The only exception? If the baby is diagnosed with having a disability, then the mother can choose to have an abortion right up until the 40th week of pregnancy, even if the disability is merely a cleft lip. The law was meant to allow for babies with “serious handicaps”, but that’s clearly not how it’s being used.
Now, one UK health minister is speaking out — but not in the way you might think.
Babies should not be aborted on the basis that they are going to have a minor disability such as a club foot or cleft palate, a health minister has suggested.
Jane Ellison, the public health minister, said that Parliament had not previously defined the term “serious handicap” in abortion laws, which had led to a potential loophole emerging which allows the termination of babies with minor disabilities after the 24-week legal limit.
… In a debate in Parliament, Mrs Ellison pointed to evidence that conditions such as a cleft lip and palate could be “an indicator of far more serious problems”.
However, she said: “Concerns have been expressed… that abortions are taking place for abnormalities that are rectifiable after birth.”
While it’s absolutely correct that babies diagnosed with treatable abnormalities like cleft lips or club feet shouldn’t be aborted, the implication here is that disabilities that aren’t treatable should be aborted. So if a baby is diagnosed with, say, Down syndrome — there’s no treatment or cure for Down syndrome — then it’s all good to kill that baby. Any type of major disabilities or abnormalities are not wanted in the UK, apparently.
This is a major problem in the United Kingdom, so much so that a parliamentary commission called for changes. The commission found that parents were being steered towards aborting their child if they had a disability, without being given information about support and resources available to them if they kept the baby. It’s no surprise, then, that the number of babies with disabilities being aborted is sharply rising.
But what is most disturbing is the reality that, in the UK, there is a law that clearly says that children with disabilities are not worth as much as children without them. It’s not legal to abort a “normal” child after 24 weeks, but if the baby has a disability? Have at it! There is an obvious lack of value and worth assigned to people with disabilities, merely because they are different from the rest of us. Now apparently, the attitude may be changing, but only for babies who can be “fixed.” This is state-sanctioned discrimination against babies with disabilities, and it is outrageous.