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This young woman with Down syndrome wants to change UK laws on abortion of children with disabilities

Heidi Crowter

Laws that allow abortion up to birth of babies with disabilities are discriminatory and wrong, and one young woman has had enough.

Heidi Crowter, 24, has Down syndrome, and together with Cheryl Bilsborrow, the mother of a 2-year-old boy with the same syndrome, she’s taking the British government to court.

Their goal: to change legislation which allows children with Down syndrome (among other conditions) to be aborted right up until birth.

In a statement to Catholic News Service, she said, “At the moment in the UK, babies can be aborted right up to birth if they are considered to be ‘seriously handicapped.’ They include me in that definition of being seriously handicapped — just because I have an extra chromosome.”

Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act permits abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy for healthy babies, but puts no limits on abortion of babies with certain disabilities. According to CNS, there are approximately 200,000 abortions in the United Kingdom each year.

Crowter and Bilsborrow are being backed in their efforts by the UK’s Don’t Screen Us Out campaign, CNS reports. The campaign has been working for four years to change the law so that abortions for non-fatal disabilities would be illegal in the third trimester.

Heidi, we wish you the best of luck in your fight! We hope your work will help people to respect and appreciate every human life.

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