The court British The Appeals Court confirmed this Friday the legislation that allows the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome until the moment of birth, after rejecting an appeal presented by a woman who suffers from this genetic disorder and a mother of a child who also suffers from it.
Heidi Crowtera 27-year-old woman from Coventry, England who has Down syndrome, and Marie Lea-Wilson, the mother of a boy, Aidan, who also has Down syndrome, brought the suit against the Department of Health and Social Care with the hope that a section contemplated in the Abortion Law will be eliminated, understanding that it is an example of “inequality”.
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Although current legislation in England, Wales and Scotland allows abortion as long as it is done within the first 24 weeks of the gestation period, the law also allows abortion up to the moment of birth when there is a “substantial risk”, “if the child born suffered from physical or mental anomalies or had severe disabilities”, which include Down syndrome.
Last September British judges undertook to find a balance between the rights of the unborn and those of women and this particular case was considered at a court hearing held last July.
As determined today by the magistrates of the Court of Appeals, the legislation does not interfere with the rights of the “disabled who are alive.”
In rejecting that woman’s appeal, the judges admitted that “this court recognizes that many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities will be upset and offended that this diagnosis of severe disability during pregnancy is considered by law to be justification for abortion, and that they might regard it as implying that their own lives are worth less.
Last July, attorney Jason Coppell, who represented Crowter and Lea-Wilson, considered that the language used in that law was considered by some people “offensive and unacceptable.”
“I am very upset that fetuses with Down syndrome can be aborted right up to the moment of birth. This tells me that I am not valued and that I am worth much less than a person who does not have Down syndrome,” Crowter said today upon learning of the verdict.
The woman, who does not rule out raising her case to the Supreme Court -the country’s highest judicial instance- assured that she will continue to “fight” for this cause, considering that she has already managed to “inform and change hearts and minds and changed people’s opinions about the law”.
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